Hacking the Xbox.... hack

— 12:00 AM on July 14, 2003

I was checking out Slashdot on Saturday when I came across this gem of an article. Those of you who pay attention to attempts to unlock the secrets of the Xbox are probably aware of a hack that used a bug in the save game routine of a particular game to allow you to run "unapproved" code on the console.

That development is interesting enough, but nowhere near as interesting as the specifics of the hack itself. The author of the hack is apparently a very capable programmer who took some intriguing steps to make his work difficult to reverse engineer. According to the article, he not only created a red herring "fake hack" (which appeared to be the actual exploit but was in fact just a distraction), he encoded the real hack in a JPEG of Tux the pengiun using steganography. Hardcore.

I would probably have gotten more out of it if I was an assembler programmer, but the article does a good job of breaking things down so you can at least understand what's happening on a general level. If you find this sort of thing entertaining, pop over and take a look.

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