Thanks to Sys_Reactor on BPN for the heads up.
A computer sciences graduate student is claiming to have cracked the security systems that prevent Microsoft's Xbox game console from running unauthorized software.
In a research paper published a few days ago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Andrew Huang detailed the procedure by which he retrieved the software "keys" that a game disc must contain for the Xbox to recognize its contents as legitimate code. Using the key, hackers presumably could write Web browsers, MP3 players and other sought-after applications for the console.
Hackers who want to benefit from Huang's work are out of luck, however.
"I'm not going to share the secret code at all, or the key--those are Microsoft copyrighted items," Huang said in a telephone interview. "I've been in touch with Microsoft about my work, and we've been really clear about what they think is legal research activity. I would love to say to everybody, 'Here's how to do it,' but I can't."
To crack the Xbox code, Huang developed a custom circuit board that he soldered between two key Xbox components. The board intercepted traffic between the components, from which Huang was able to extract the critical security keys. Huang estimated it cost him $50 and three weeks of effort to break the code.
News source: ZDNet News
View: Slashdot posting - Keeping Secrets in Hardware: Xbox Case Study (from 1st June 2002)
View: MIT AI Lab Memo - Keeping Secrets in Hardware: the Microsoft XBox Case Study by Andrew "bunnie" Huang, 26th May 2002
View: Andrew Huang - bunnie's adventures hacking the Xbox @ MIT (thanks slashdot for the link!)