Feeds

Wii U 'has been JAILBROKEN' via legacy games, say homebrewers

Backwards compatible with backdoors

High performance access to file storage

A squad of techies claim they've cracked Nintendo's anti-piracy defences in the Wii U days after the games console hit US shelves.

The hack, the gaming equivalent of jail-breaking, allows home-made games, pirate copies of titles and other unauthorised software to run on the Wii U, according to wiiuhacks.com. The attack appears to involve exploiting security holes in old Wii games when a Wii U is running in legacy Wii mode.

The team has compiled a list of authorised games that can be hijacked to launch unofficial titles.

The group has also produced a seven-minute video of what appears to be a Wii U playing homebrew games after running the "Smash Stack" exploit from a disc. Nintendo, like other console makers, locks down its machines so, in theory, they can only play cryptographically signed software; hackers usually have to exploit security holes in the system or endorsed games to defeat these protections.

Chris Boyd AKA PaperGhost, a senior threat researcher at GFI Software and an expert in gaming security, said major Wii homebrew communities such as wiiubrew.org are yet to hack the Wii U.

"We have not been successful in running homebrew on the Nintendo Wii U. But running code in Wii Mode is possible," wiiubrew.org stated.

"It's the same story elsewhere, even on sites with dedicated modding and homebrew sections," according to Boyd.

He added that it's one thing to get old exploits working in legacy Wii mode, but another to develop exploits for vulnerabilities exclusively present in new Wii U systems. He is cautious of the wiiuhacks.com team's boasts.

"There is one video on YouTube where the uploader claims to be successfully running homebrew on the Wii U using an older exploit designed to load unauthorised code on the original Wii console, but I've no way of verifying if the video is genuine," Boyd told El Reg.

"Additionally, there are groups picking through the back catalogue of programs and exploits from the original Wii - some of which no longer work on certain versions of system menu - to see if they can uncover a blind spot in the new console."

The Wii U console is backwards compatible with most Wii games and accessories, which explains why older exploits for the previous console still work, up to a point, on the next-generation machine.

Nintendo pushed a firmware update to Wii U consoles less than a day after the system went on sale on Sunday in the US. The sizeable upgrade does not block the Wii U Smash Stack exploit, but future updates could, wiiuhacks.com warned. Attempts to interrupt the lengthy Wii U update process once it starts can leave the console as useful as a squishy brick, as Nintendo itself advised. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.