Hacking The Xbox 360 For Dummies

Hacking The Xbox 360 For Dummies

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Rossana Roses
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Hacking The Xbox 360 For Dummies

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Book Author
J. Todd

The Xbox 360 DVD-ROM drive firmware hack is currently the only modification or hack available for the Xbox 360. The firmware hack allows you to play properly created backups of Xbox 360 games. The firmware hack does NOT allow homebrew programs to run and does NOT bypass region protection. If a video game is locked to a particular region, then it will only play on an Xbox 360 of that same region. Before jumping into this modification, it is a good idea to learn how this hack works.

In the most basic form, an Xbox 360’s game protection comes from two security measures. First of which is encryption. Nearly all files on an Xbox 360 game disc as well as the Xbox 360 hard drive are signed with Microsoft’s private key. If anything, even just a single bit, is changed, the signature is broken and the Xbox 360 refuses to run the file. The second security measure is media locking. The game is restricted to run only from a certain type of media. For example, all Xbox 360 games are restricted to run only from “Xbox 360” media. Game demos downloaded from Xbox Live are restricted to run only from “Xbox 360 Hard Drive.” Xbox Live Arcade games aren’t restricted at all; they can run from any media. Before the firmware hacks, if you were to copy an Xbox 360 game and try running it from “DVD+R DL”, the Xbox 360 would obviously see that it wasn’t “Xbox 360” media and refuse to run it because of the media restriction.

This media restriction is what the firmware hack bypasses. The firmware fakes out the Xbox 360 into thinking that any media is “Xbox 360” media. You copy your game to DVD+R DL, insert it into a firmware-hacked drive, and instead of returning “DVD+R DL” to the Xbox 360, the drive says it is an “Xbox 360” disc and it then plays the game. As you can see, the firmware hack does not bypass any signature protection whatsoever. Some Xbox 360 games use region protection to restrict the playing of a game in a certain region. The firmware hack will not allow you to play games out of a region if they are region-locked. If the original will play in your Xbox 360, the same backup will. If the original won’t, neither will the backup of it.

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