Xbox modded – without a mod chip
Insert compulsory mods vs. rockers gag here
Following on from the news that it's possible to run unsigned applications on the Xbox by using a loophole in EA's Agent Under Fire, crackers have discovered how to mod the system without a physical modchip.
The new system breaks open the Xbox for running third-party applications (including the Linux operating system) or pirated games just as effectively as standard mod chips, but the only physical alteration needed to the box is a very minor soldering task to link up two jumper points on the system board.
This then allows the user to flash the original BIOS chip on the Xbox itself - rather than installing a replacement BIOS to bypass the original chip, as most Xbox mod chips do.
This latest development is likely to make the modification of Xboxen even cheaper and easier than it was previously - in fact, it's such a simple procedure that we can easily envisage people modding your Xbox "while you wait" at various dodgy computer fairs or market stalls around the country, in much the same way that mobile phones can be unlocked in mere minutes for only a few pounds.
It remains to be seen how Microsoft plans to respond to this new form of cracking attempt on the Xbox; it's one thing to shut down the sale of mod chips, but it's effectively impossible to prevent the distribution across the Internet of the simple instructions and files required to mod the console in this way.