Microsoft has responded to rampant (in certain circles) DVD firmware hacking with a new version of the Hitachi-LG GDR-3120L Xbox 360 DVD drive (0078FK), currently found in post-August '06 manufactured consoles bound for the UK and Australia, and probably everywhere else in the near future. Xbox-Scene has details on changes that seem designed to confound the best the hacking community has to offer. Ok, so how long before some 13-year-old in Norway cracks this thing?
By the way, if you want to know what version you have, there's a helpful sticker on the drive.
I noticed one of the commenters at GamerScoreBlog complimenting MS on their security efforts (however compromised) and blasting Sony for not showing the same zeal in his opinion. We know that the PS3 has been delayed at due in part to security concerns about Blu-Ray. Which console do you think will ultimately prove the more "hackable" and will that affect your purchasing decision?
The curious minds behind that DVD firmware hack are giving interviews. Xboxic had a chit chat with hacker Robinsod and posted a helpful summary of what they learned:
- The hack is completely unfit to be applied to a modchip.
- Anyone selling a modchip based on this is a scammer.
- Trying to replicate the hack without having multiple years of experience at this kind of things will most certainly brick your 360.
- Microsoft will quite probably be able to detect fake firmwares very soon as the cat/mouse game commences so you will get your ass kicked out of Xbox Live for the rest of your life.
- Watch out for brickware. Some moron will release one probably.
Legendary (at least in the XboxHacker.net forums) hacker TheSpecialist reports progress regarding the Xbox 360's DVD firmware:
Word on the street is that some smart people of this board combined their forces, formed an underground team and are very, VERY close to getting the first 360 backup booting.
...MS did a very good job on the 360 itself this time. However, they made a big mistake by forgetting about the firmware They even didn't remove the debug routines from the FW, quite amazing ... The 360 has a little bit more advanced protection in its FW than the original xbox, but still, they did some stupid things (like forgetting about the debug routines, that were very helpful to us, hehe, and most importantly: not signing the firmware).
Curry of Xboxic explains the implications:
Not signing the firmware is indeed a major mistake, as it allows the hacker to gain full control of the drive. Microsoft can issue a forced update via Live to disable the modification, but a new firmware could be installed again which goes undetected. As such the hacker is in control of the cat/mouse game.
It's important to note that there's still no way to run unsigned code. Flashing the firmware requires a hardware programmer, so it's doubtful this hack will see wide useage when it's finally released, if it's released at all. It also means the really cool homebrew like XBMC is still a hacker's dream.
All of this stuff is either Intriguing or unsavory depending on your level of technical interest and adherance to the Boy Scout oath. See Xboxic's excellent analysis for more detail/background.