It was just a matter of time of course. As reported about a month ago, Xbox 360 Dashboards version 4532 and 4548 contained a severe bug, allowing direct code modification in the system to execute arbitrary code in so-called hypervisor mode. Technical blabla aside, that means the Xbox 360 could run any kind of code, if equipped with one of the vulnerable kernels. Logical first target for homebrew is always Linux, and today we hear news that someone managed to get his 360 to boot Linux distribution Ubuntu.
Over on the forums of MaxConsole, member Cpasjuste claims to have achieved this breakthrough, and as always a picture says more than a thousand words:
For the uninitiated: that’s Ubuntu, running our favorite Mozilla Firefox web browser in the Gnome desktop environment, and a console window dumping the system’s processor info, showing a sweet total of 3 Xenon CPUs running at an approximated 3192Mhz. Although any system could show this information with a little bit of kernel C++ code modification, we’re not too skeptical of this, it’s just a logical application of the hack. Also, it notes that, apart from one of the vulnerable kernels, you will need to boot the system via the King Kong disc, known since ages to be an easily hackable and well explored game disc, having been used to demonstrate both the original exploit and older hacks targeting unencrypted shader code.
Don’t go jumping for joy yet though, as noted before in our article the only kernels vulnerable to the exploit were patched before the hack was released to the public. If you have an old 360 with a kernel prior to version 2532, you’ll need to do some damn smart work to upgrade it to a vulnerable version, and if you have a patched kernel already you’re screwed since Microsoft used IBM’s eFuse technology to disable kernel downgrades. And whenever you connect to Xbox Live, you’re automatically upgraded to the latest kernel anyway, so let’s just say chances that you can ever run this hack are minimal, and if so it’ll keep you from Xbox Live at least until a proper workaround for the automatic upgrades is found.
A video is also supplied for your convenience, or in low quality YouTube glory here:
Many thanks to The M.A.R.T. for letting us know!