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So just how hack-proof is the 360?

Ryan Block, @ryan
Hacked Xbox 360

We haven't yet had a chance to get our hands dirty and bust out our trusty tunneling electron microscope to see for ourselves just how in deep we'd have to go in order to load up our new 360 with Linux, but apparently the Free60 Project has a pretty good idea of what's in store for Xbox hackers this time (though of course none of this is officially verified):

  • The flash is encrypted with a per-box key

  • The key is stored inside the CPU

  • The boot ROM is stored inside the CPU

  • Also inside the CPU is a hypervisor that verifies the running state of the kernel, making sure there is no modification (RAM checksums), else the Xbox 360 panics and blows up!

  • The CPU contains RAM inside of it to store the checksums

  • All interrupt/exception handling is done by the hypervisor

  • All code runs in kernel mode

  • The emulator for first generation games can be updated via an official Microsoft download burned to CD by the user, though the CDs' content will be encrypted and signed with public key cryptography. The boot ROM is stored inside the CPU.

Don't worry if you don't know what any of that biz means — but if you do, you probably know that this is a real world best-case-scenario trusted computing environment. In other words, would-be Xbox 360 hackers have definitely got their work cut out for 'em.

[Via Joystiq and Xbox 360 Fanboy]

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