Feeds

Xbox 360 cracked

Bug allowed gamers to run Linux on MS box

The essential guide to IT transformation

Hardware hackers have developed a technique to hack Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console so that it might be possible to run alternative operating systems on the hardware.

The approach, which only works given physical access to the hardware and is strictly for fun, relies on a taking advantage of a vulnerability in the Xbox 360 hypervisor. Properly exploited, the bug allows tinkerers to run arbitrary code (even an alternative OS) with full privileges and full hardware access.

The hypervisor on Xbox 360 machines controls access to memory and provides encryption and decryption services. The approach means that all games and other applications running on the Xbox 360, in theory at least, need to be cryptographically signed with Microsoft's private key and run in non-privileged read-only mode.

Unprivileged code cannot change executable code, but flaws in the way unprivileged code interacts with the hypervisor via the syscall instruction laid the groundwork to the hack.

Full details on the ingenious exploit, including proof of concept code, were published on BugTraq on Wednesday. The anonymous hackers tipped Microsoft off about the issue last month and "following cordial discussions" the software giant quickly produced a patch. The hack has been possible since the bug was introduced in late October. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?