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Tricky Xbox 360 hack claimed to work 1 try in 4

New slim Redmond console pwned like a bitch

Reducing security risks from open source software

Hackers reckon they have come up with a way to circumvent the security of Xbox 360 gaming consoles via an attack that allows them to inject unsigned code into the heart of the system.

The so-called Reset Glitch Hack, developed by hackers GliGli and Tyros, creates a means to load code into a console's CPU. This makes it more sophisticated than previous approaches, some of which relied on bugs within gaming software.

The hack relies on slowing the CPU during the boot-up sequence, using an "externally accessible HANA chip bus (I2C) to overwrite the divider registers in the clock generator", as H Security explains. With the clock sequence slowed down it becomes possible to inject a reset pulse that both resets the clock speed and injects code of the hackers' choosing into memory. The approach is less than elegant but, given a bit of luck (the exploit is only successful 25 per cent of the time), the hacking duo showed it was possible to smuggle their own customised bootloader onto the system.

The hack works by essentially destabilising the console in order to trick it into believing the hackers' code is hashed and signed.

In a demonstration video, the hackers launched a Linux loader and Nintendo 64 (N64) emulator. The approach works regardless of firmware version. Both the new slim console and some previous versions of XBox 360 console (Jasper) are potentially vulnerable. Earlier versions of XBox 360 (Xenon, Falcon) are not. Microsoft may have its work cut out in blocking the hack because a simple software update would not be enough to block the exploit, according to the hackers.

The hackers stated that the hack had only been developed for the purposes of running homebrew code, and not for gaming piracy or similar malfeasance.

More details on the hack can be found here. ®

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