Hacker's Holy Grail: Xbox 360

There are certain pinnacles in which humans strive to conquer. For race car drivers it is the Indy 500. For runners, it is running the marathon. And for many hackers, it is the Xbox 360. When Microsoft announced that one of its goals for the 360 was to make it virtually hack proof, the gauntlet was cast down, and the hacking community immediately took up the challenge.

The 360 not been successfully hacked of as yet, but this distinction has made the Xbox 360 the Holy Grail, if you will, of hackers around the world. In an interview given to the Wall Street Journal, Andrew “Bunnie” Huang explained that hacking the 360 was not fueled by a desire to engage in illegal activity, but from a desire to make Microsoft eat its words.

Huang stated, on his blogsite, that the community of hackers is a close knit group of individuals whose openness in sharing ideas and information was a prime reason for the advancement of hacking. Huang said: “We wouldn,t be anywhere near where we are today without the openness and information-sharing that pervades the hacking scene, and I hope that the portrayal of hacking as a competitive sport does not close off these avenues. I know that I would not be where I am today if it were not for the great collaborations I,ve had in the past with so many anonymous hackers, and my ability to contribute on the 360 would also be greatly diminished if I were to lose such valuable collaborations.”

How serious is Huang in cracking the 360? The following excerpt from his site should give some hints: “I hope to refine a technique that will gain access to the polysilicon layer of the XCPU while being non-destructive to the function of the chip. Such access is currently thought to be a major stumbling block to extracting the necessary keys for decrypting firmware images on the Xbox360–and the first step toward homebrewing code on the Xbox360. I wouldn,t hold my breath, however–the technique is very risky and I don,t have a whole lot of time to perfect it. I have to build some custom equipment to help control the etch bath properties for peeling back the silicon. Still, it will be fun and even if it is not successful, I,ll learn something new while I develop the hack!”

Whether hackers are seen as renegades or heroes greatly depends upon each individual,s particular point of view. But what can be said of them is that they won,t be going away anytime soon.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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