Is Microsoft using 'Halo 2' to thwart Xbox hackers?
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Is Microsoft using 'Halo 2' to thwart Xbox hackers?

  1. #1
    AO French Antique News Whore
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    2,126

    Is Microsoft using 'Halo 2' to thwart Xbox hackers?

    Microsoft appears to be using its smash "Halo 2" game as a vehicle to crack down on mod chips and other hacks of its Xbox video game console.

    Hundreds of Xbox owners have reported in online forums in recent days that they were banned from Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service, after trying to play "Halo 2" online with a modified console.

    A Microsoft representative would not specify which additional security measures, if any, have been added to Xbox Live around the "Halo 2" launch. "Microsoft listens carefully to the Xbox Live community and reserves the right to take steps necessary to preserve the integrity of the user experience," the representative said in a statement. "Our goal is to provide our users with secure, consistent and fair online game play. Users are not permitted to manipulate the system to the detriment of others."

    "Mod chips," gray-market add-ons that allow game consoles to run imported discs, pirated games and homemade software, began circulating for the Xbox shortly after the game machine went on sale four years ago. Hackers who equip their Xboxes with mod chips and other upgrades such as bigger hard drives, have gotten the consoles to perform all sorts of unauthorized tricks, including running Linux software and serving as digital media centers.

    Microsoft and other hardware makers have long fought against mod chips, however, chiefly because they abet game piracy. The software giant's activities culminated in a Justice Department raid two years ago in which federal lawmakers took over a Web site used to sell mod chips and swap illegally copied games.

    Billy Pidgeon, an analyst for research firm Zelos Group, said console makers have long used any means available to them to thwart mod chips and halt illegal copying of games. The advent of online gaming for consoles has raised the stakes, he said.

    "They're worried not just about enabling casual piracy but also about cheating," Pidgeon said. "A modded Xbox can allow all sorts of new avenues for cheating online and ruining the experience for paying customers. I would argue that Xbox Live is a great experience for the end user precisely because it's a closed, controlled environment, and anything that threatens that is a real concern for Microsoft."

    As first reported by CNET News.com, Microsoft has also used Xbox Live since its inception to crack down on mod chips and other hacks. The Xbox Live user agreement states that "Xbox Live may only be accessed with an unmodified, except for Microsoft-authorized repairs and upgrades, Xbox video game console. Any attempt to disassemble, decompile, create derivative works of, reverse engineer, modify, further sublicense, distribute or use for other purposes either the hardware or software of this system, is strictly prohibited and may result in termination of your account and/or your ability to access Xbox Live."

    The agreement further gives Microsoft authority to "retrieve information from the Xbox used to log onto Xbox Live as necessary to operate and protect the security of Xbox Live and to enforce this agreement."

    Initial Xbox Live anti-hacker measures focused on checking a console's BIOS--the software that controls basic functions of a computing device--to ensure it was running on original Microsoft software. Hackers got around those checks with switches and software dongles that temporarily turn off a mod chip before signing in to Xbox Live.

    Recent updates to the Xbox Live service, made just before Tuesday's release of "Halo 2" was set to touch off a huge surge in Xbox Live subscriptions, appear to go much further, however. The service now apparently checks the console's hard drive and boots any machine with storage different than the 8GB or 10GB hard drive originally supplied with the console. Hard drive upgrades are one of the most common hacks for the Xbox, allowing it to serve as a digital media jukebox.

    Online forums such as Xbox Scene and Team Xecuter have logged reports from hundreds of Xbox owners who previously were able to access Xbox Live with their modified consoles--typically outfitted with a mod chip and a bigger hard drive--but have been banned from the service since trying to go online with "Halo 2."

    "The Datapusher," a California systems administrator who asked that his real name not be used, said he's outfitted his Xbox with an Xecuter mod chip, a 200GB hard drive and some add-on software to turn the device into a digital media center. He didn't have any problem using Xbox Live until he got "Halo 2" this week.

    "The current theory that I am subscribing to on the mass bans from Microsoft are that when you originally signed up for their service, they listed your hard drive in a database," Datapusher said via e-mail. "During one of their recent...service updates, they checked to see if the serial number of the drive matched the number listed in their database. If you were one of the unlucky people who had been flagged in this scan, you were banned from their service on the eve of one of the biggest game launches I can remember."

    Datapusher said he was temporarily able to regain access to Xbox Live after some tinkering Wednesday night, but was banned again shortly after. He vowed not to give in and buy a new Xbox, the route reportedly taken by many hackers eager to join the online "Halo 2" scrum. "I won't give up that easily," he vowed. "Someone will find a way. Microsoft may be clever, but not as much so as the open-source community...there will always be a way around Microsoft security protocols."

    Other hardware hackers reported similar experiences in online forums, with most relating their bans to changes they made in the Xbox hard drive. "In all honesty, I'm not really that bothered," said a poster at Team Xecuter, a site for mod-chip enthusiasts. "In fact, I kind of expected to get banned sooner or later the second I modded my box."
    Link : http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-5...tml?tag=st.num

    M$ hit hard! Very hard!
    -Simon \"SDK\"

  2. #2
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    3,834
    Why would one connect a moded xbox to Xbox live? An online service owned and operated by Microsoft. It's like plugging in the phone port of a moded satelite or cable reciever.
    West of House
    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

  3. #3
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    4,324
    Just goes to show you that m$ won't let you have your cake and eat it too.

    I don't agree with m$'s policy of disabling these "hardware hackers" ability of using XBOX live...

    But you can be sure that there are hundreds if not thousands of people working on a workaround.
    I'd bet that they come up with a solution before the end of the weekend...
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    1,255
    Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. XBOX Live's terms of service prohibits it, and that's that.
    Chris Shepherd
    The Nelson-Shepherd cutoff: The point at which you realise someone is an idiot while trying to help them.
    \"Well as far as the spelling, I speak fluently both your native languages. Do you even can try spell mine ?\" -- Failed Insult
    Is your whole family retarded, or did they just catch it from you?

  5. #5
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    4,324
    Originally posted here by chsh
    Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. XBOX Live's terms of service prohibits it, and that's that.
    I understand that. I was just stating my opinion.
    I could care less about XBOX Live's TOS. It doen't affect me either way.
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    3,834
    lol, it's like Dish frying ROMs right before the Superbowl. Release a game everybody wants to play and then tweak the system to lock out certain characterisitics. Sounds like MS is using data from the hardware report, I am sure that can be masked in a few days.
    West of House
    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

  7. #7
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    5,197
    ROFLMAO.....

    They hyped it to the n'th degree.... Every kid _had_ to have it.... Every kid paid, (ok _most_ kids paid), M$ to get the game and it, (or something before), hacked them......

    Is this poetic justice or what......

    I for one, am not bummed...... I'm actually drinking a beer to Bill.... After all, most of the "victims" are skiddies....
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  8. #8
    Blast From the Past
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    729
    black sunday.....i remember that day...especialy my dad because he is into that stuff...i dont complain becuase i get free movies and junk.....and i was just about to get an xbox.....i think il buy a second one just for xbox live and then mod one with a clear case, lights, huge hdd...the works...

    how illeagle is modding your xbox?...wouldnt it just void the warrente?...i mean honestly microsoft are throwing a fit becuase people have open minds and are smarter then they are....it makes sense with the dish blocking though becuase they are actualy robbing satalite....what are you doing with xbox...upgradeing?......i dont no...jsut my thoughts
    work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    3,834
    Technically you can do anything you want with your Xbox, they aren't going to come and take it away, including smashing it to pieces and mailing it back to Bill. Now if you take the xbox with it's tweaks and connect to to "Xbox live" and they decide they don't want you to connect because they don't have a clue how it's modifed or what warez are on it; there isn't much you can do. Although I see your point, you aren't necessarily stealing anything but detecting modified components makes then nervous I guess. Or they are just pissed like the online servers banning people for modifying their online gaming engines like Half Life or Unreal Tournament. Then there was Blizzard banning a bunch of people for using stolen CD keys in War Craft 3. It's all the same.
    West of House
    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

  10. #10
    Senior Member phernandez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    246
    Part of the reasoning behind Xbox Live, if I remember right, is to provide a level playing field. All things being equal, your opponents/collaborators have no advantages over you (unless you have a crappy TV or flaky broadband).

    I don't think MS is so much concerned that your console is modded (you already paid them their $150 or more) as they are that people will cheat or hacked Xboxes will break their service, in which case subscribers would be screaming bloody murder. I would venture to say that MS isn't so much being evil as protecting and keeping happy the 99.9% of Live subscribers w/o modded machines.

    Boils down to economics.

    And the DirecTV Black Sunday incident is classic

    My $0.02.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •