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Felix Domke, Michael Steil, Free60 Project; 11 August 2009

Dangerous Xbox 360 Update Killing Homebrew

On Tuesday, Microsoft has released an Xbox 360 software update that overwrites the first stage bootloader of the system. Although there have been numerous software updates for Microsoft's gaming console in the past, this is the first one to overwrite the vital boot block. Any failure while updating this will break the Xbox 360 beyond repair. Statistics from other systems have shown that about one in a thousand bootloader updates goes wrong, and unless Microsoft has a novel solution to this problem, this puts tens of thousands of Xboxes at risk.

It seems that this update is being done to fix a vulnerability already known to the Free60 Project. This vulnerability has been successfully exploited to run arbitrary code, and a complete end user compatible hack has been in development for some time and is planned to be released on free60.org shortly. It will allow users to take back control of their Xboxes and run arbitrary code like homebrew applications or Linux right after turning on the console and without the need of a modchip, finally opening up the Xbox 360 to a level of hacking as the original Xbox.

Because of the dangerousness of the update and the homebrew lockout, the Free60 Project advises all Xbox 360 users to not update their systems to the latest software version. The Project website at http://free60.org/ will provide the latest information on this ongoing topic, including the final hack software.

Free60 (www.free60.org) is a project that aims to enable Xbox 360 users to run homebrew applications and operating systems like Linux on their consoles. The effort is headed by Felix Domke and Michael Steil, who have a background in dbox2, Xbox and GameCube hacking, and who have spoken at various conferences about their findings. Two years ago, Free60 released a hack that allowed arbitrary code execution using a game ("King Kong Hack") as well as an adapted version of Linux, but this possibility has been disabled by Microsoft in subsequent updates of the Xbox 360 software.

Felix and Michael have repeatedly argued that game console manufacturers should open up their platforms to Linux and homebrew, similar to what Sony has done with the PlayStation 3.

Navigation: Main Page / Getting Started / FAQ / Status/Contribute / Documentation / Mailing Lists / Links

Try Out: Screenshots / Download / CD-Art (http://www.xbox-linux.org/cdart/)

Developer: CVS (http://xbox.cvs.sourceforge.net/xbox-linux/) / Contact / SourceForge Project Page (http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/xbox-linux/)

FreeBSD port: Overview

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Xbox Linux is GNU/Linux on your Xbox

The Xbox is a legacy-free PC by Microsoft that consists of an Intel Celeron 733 MHz CPU, an nVidia GeForce 3MX, 64 MB of RAM, a 8/10 GB hard disk, a DVD drive and 10/100 Ethernet. As on every PC, you can run Linux on it.

An Xbox with Linux can be a full desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, a web/email box connected to TV, a server or router or a node in a cluster. You can either dual-boot or use Linux only; in the latter case, you can replace both IDE devices. And yes, you can connect the Xbox to a VGA monitor.

Can't do it yourself? We can install Linux on your Xbox - for free!

This Website is a Wiki

You can edit pages by clicking "edit" on top of the page, and you can add new articles. Please note that this site is about Xbox Linux only, so do not add information about modchips or pirating games. Also please test the system in the Sandbox, not on real pages.

Run Linux On Your Xbox

YES - You can run Linux on your Xbox!
YES - You can do it without a modchip!
YES - You can do it without opening your Xbox!
YES - we can do it for you - for free!

News

5 Sep 2008: The Xbox 360 Security System and its Weaknesses (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxjpmc8ZIxM) , a Google Tech Talks presentation, is now online.

21 April 2007: OpenBSD Port: Markus Ritzer has started in OpenBSD port for the Xbox in April. See here (https://tobias.schroepf.de/doku/doku.php?id=xbox:porting_openbsd_to_the_xbox) for details.

20 May 2006: Video footage from 22C3: Video footage from the presentation given at the 22nd Chaos Communication Congress (http://events.ccc.de/congress/2005/) is now online (http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/xbox-linux/22C3-559-en-xbox_hacking.mp4?download). Older material has been archived (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=54192&package_id=189760) as well. - UPDATE: 22C3 presentation at Google Video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-749497642180741726)

19 April 2006: The theory behind the Xbox VGA converter: Steve Gehlbach, the designer of the first Xbox HDTV to VGA converter, describes the theory behind his design in the article Maximizing Op Amp Summing Power (http://www.stevegehlbach.com/drupal/?q=article/opamp_html) on his website (http://www.stevegehlbach.com/).

7 April 2006: SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards: The Xbox Linux Project won in the category "Hardware"! Look here (http://sourceforge.net/awards/cca/).

27 March 2006: Myria and Michael are blogging: Myria and Michael, who did many of the low level parts of Xbox Linux (bootloader, MechInstaller) have started a blog on assembly language at http://www.pagetable.com. You can find puzzles, trivia and more there!

15 December 2005: The paper 17 Mistakes Microsoft Made in the Xbox Security System has been published. It will be presented at the 22nd Chaos Communication Congress (http://events.ccc.de/congress/2005/) Dec 27th to 30th in Berlin, Germany.

24 November 2005: Xbox 360 hacking has started - have a look at www.free60.org and join the mailing lists (http://www.free60.org/wiki/Mailing_Lists).

1 October 2005: Pictures of Xbox Manufacturing - see Xbox Manufacturing Process Pictures

IRC

If you have any problems, there is always someone in our IRC channel: Server irc.oftc.net, channel #xbox-linux.


Dreamx.jpg (http://www.friendtech.com/) Bunnie.png (http://www.hackingthexbox.com/)

Antiedu2.png (http://www.anti-dmca.org/take_back) Patent_button.png (http://petition.eurolinux.org/)


Xbox, Windows NT and Windows 2000 (and probably some more) are registered trademarks by Microsoft Corp. No affiliation between the Xbox-Linux Project and Microsoft Corp. exists or is implied.

Please note that all information on this website is for informational purpose only and is provided "AS IS". Everything you do with this information is on your own risk.

If you believe anything on this site violates any law or any of your rights, please contact us so that we can find a quick solution.

Everything done on this project is for the sole purpose of writing interoperable software under Sect. 1201 (f) Reverse Engineering exception of the DMCA.