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August 11, 2009 // 11:10 am - Today some of the top XBox 360 hackers at Free60 have warned NOT to update your XBox 360 with the summer update, as a FULL homebrew exploit is coming!

To quote: Dangerous Xbox 360 Update Killing Homebrew

On Tuesday, Microsoft has released an Xbox 360 software update that overwrites the first stage bootloader of the system. Although there have been numerous software updates for Microsoft's gaming console in the past, this is the first one to overwrite the vital boot block.

Any failure while updating this will break the Xbox 360 beyond repair. Statistics from other systems have shown that about one in a thousand bootloader updates goes wrong, and unless Microsoft has a novel solution to this problem, this puts tens of thousands of Xboxes at risk.

It seems that this update is being done to fix a vulnerability already known to the Free60 Project. This vulnerability has been successfully exploited to run arbitrary code, and a complete end user compatible hack has been in development for some time and is planned to be released on shortly.

It will allow users to take back control of their Xboxes and run arbitrary code like homebrew applications or Linux right after turning on the console and without the need of a modchip, finally opening up the Xbox 360 to a level of hacking as the original Xbox.

Because of the dangerousness of the update and the homebrew lockout, the Free60 Project advises all Xbox 360 users to not update their systems to the latest software version. The Project website at will provide the latest information on this ongoing topic, including the final hack software.

Free60 ( is a project that aims to enable Xbox 360 users to run homebrew applications and operating systems like Linux on their consoles. The effort is headed by Felix Domke and Michael Steil, who have a background in dbox2, Xbox and GameCube hacking, and who have spoken at various conferences about their findings.

Two years ago, Free60 released a hack that allowed arbitrary code execution using a game ("King Kong Hack") as well as an adapted version of Linux, but this possibility has been disabled by Microsoft in subsequent updates of the Xbox 360 software.

Felix and Michael have repeatedly argued that game console manufacturers should open up their platforms to Linux and homebrew, similar to what Sony has done with the PlayStation 3.

Summer update notes from Major Nelson:

• While you can browse and purchase Avatar items and full Xbox 360 games in the console with this update, the ability to add these items your Xbox 360 download queue from will be available this Thursday.
• Xbox LIVE integration with Twitter, Facebook and Last.FM will be available later this year.
• Zune Video Marketplace will also ship later this fall when it will replace the current Video Marketplace.

Free60: Do NOT Update XBox 360, Full Homebrew Exploit Coming!

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#19 - dshade - August 14, 2009 // 6:22 pm
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Wish I would of known sooner... All my 360s have been updated... except for the one that is currently about to be repaired...

#18 - JeffJ - August 12, 2009 // 4:50 pm
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Quote Originally Posted by DMagic1 View Post
Well considering the 360 already reads HFS+ which doesnt have 4gb size limitations, anythings possible.

touchee i forgot about that.

#17 - GotNoUsername - August 12, 2009 // 9:50 am
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Sound very promising can't wait ^^ Good work !

#16 - Preceptor - August 12, 2009 // 6:20 am
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Sorry mate, looks like we ps3 folk are fooked... they don't seem to be getting any closer to beating Sony. I've lost my hope already... No doubt there will be homebrew for the ps3. The problem is... I don't see it coming any time soon... In a couple of years pehaps... If we behave and say our prayers right and don't upgrade our firmwares, pehaps, only pehaps...

#15 - semitope - August 12, 2009 // 6:11 am
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Well.... happy for the 360 folks... You have suffered through many RRODs so you deserve it! Well... don't quite deserve to get it so far ahead of ps3 owners but i can forgive that.

So where is the news about ps3 homebrew??

#14 - PS4 News - August 12, 2009 // 3:42 am
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According to their Wiki page, it appears tmbinc (Felix) and the other guy are both the Free60 Project leaders... so ya, I'd say chances are good indeed:
Felix Domke, Michael Steil, Free60 Project; 11 August 2009

#13 - dotISO - August 12, 2009 // 3:34 am
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I believe tmbinc is the leader of the team. If he is, then they will release the exploit for sure.

#12 - shummyr - August 12, 2009 // 2:43 am
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Quote Originally Posted by Preceptor View Post
Things like these make me so sad... I knew i should've bought a 360 instead of a ps3...

Now i'll have to wait forever... For the ps3 to get even close to be hacked... This is the price we pay for living in a dreamworld...

The team is still deciding whether or not to release it because of the news leak.

#11 - Preceptor - August 12, 2009 // 12:10 am
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Things like these make me so sad... I knew i should've bought a 360 instead of a ps3...

Now i'll have to wait forever... For the ps3 to get even close to be hacked... This is the price we pay for living in a dreamworld...

#10 - dotISO - August 11, 2009 // 10:40 pm
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At the same time, tmbinc is announcing some new "hacks" for the xbox 360s coming soon:

So, some quick news:

We kept on working on this idea, and it worked out. pretty well. We use JTAG to program the DMA target addr, and then SMC to trigger the DMA read. The exploit itself is based on the old 4532 exploit.

The magic is how we launch 4532 - there is a "backdoor" for manufacturing since CB 1920. We have been able to restore the newer CD versions for all hardware types.

This means:
- We can boot own code in HV context ~5s after boot, before any video output, right after the kernel runs.
- we need to reflash the flash, and add 3 resistors for the JTAG (no modchip required! but you might want a dual-nand modchip),
- 8498 kills this by updating the bootloader - it blacklists 4532/4548. it also does hw init stuff which might interefere with the jtag hack, we don't know yet.
- we have a proof of concept hack, we will release it SOON (a matter of hours/days, not more - promised.).
- DON'T UPDATE to summer 09. Did i already say this?
- you don't need to know your cpu key. You can update to all BUT summer '09. you don't need a dvdrom.
- It works on all xenon, zephyr, falcon, opus, jasper. Unless you have updated to 849x. Then you're screwed.
- It's possible to recover DVD keys. In fact, no DVD-ROM is required to run the hack, so it's possible to run own code, dump cpu key, decrypt HV, inject key, flash back. Note that I personally don't like games, so I won't be of much help here.
- No, even if you know your CPU key, it's not possible to downgrade back from 8498.
- Right now, the only way to support both gaming and hacking would be a dual-nand modchip, which switches between nand contents. Note that you still couldn't update to 8498, as it likely (haven't tried) doesn't run without R6T3.

From a technical perspective, I want to stress that this is not "yet another bug" - it's THE SAME bug we used 2 years ago. It's just that we changed the way how we write to memory, and that allows for the new cool features.