Important Clarifications

There are some important misconceptions that need to be corrected.

1. I did no technical work on the Xbox 360 hack. Felix Domke (tmbinc) is the true technical genius behind the hack — please give him proper credit for his hard work. My role in this is entirely diplomatic; I was consulted because my previous work on the Xbox meant I was already familiar with the legal risks and the best contact methods. And, as with any hack, there were many other unsung heros involved who are forced to choose anonymity due to risks and circumstances out of their control.

2. No money was involved. The hack was reported to Microsoft per legal requirements, and per security industry standard operating practice. It is no coincidence that this is the exact same path that was taken on the first Xbox hacks (Hypertransport, 007 and Dashboard). The difference is that this time, Microsoft took the time to listen, and eventually invited us to their house to give a talk.

3. Finally, this was the opportunity to tell Microsoft that locking out low-level code development (and consequently Linux) will never work. It’s neither sound technically nor good for business development in the long term. We believe they have listened. Although this approach has never been tried before, based on their reactions, future Microsoft devices may not lock out homebrew; at least, we have planted the seeds of a feasible technical and business path to such a future in key minds at Microsoft.

In closing, I don’t think Microsoft is right in locking down hardware to outside developers; I also don’t think that the pirates are right, either. As a result, I must walk a fine gray line, and I am continuously faced with many a difficult and ambiguous decision.

And, to quote Felix, who posted in the comment round on a previous blog entry:

“The reason to stay anonymous so long was…about not getting sued. But after Bluehat, it become clear that this was no issue anymore.

And my strict demand for working on a project like free60 is that i can publish stuff in public, under my real name, without hiding anything, and still be able to sleep well at night. This would not have been possible if we hadn’t worked together with Microsoft.”

22 Responses to “Important Clarifications”

  1. […] Please see Important Clarifications as well. Felix Domke (tmbinc) is the genius behind the Xbox360 hack. Please credit him properly! […]

  2. discipulus says:

    oh boy, here comes the flood of flames.

  3. Me says:

    Congrats Felix & Team!

  4. mylakerye says:

    I don’t think anyone is going to flame him, they were doing their best while trying not to get sued. I would like to hear what Felix thinks as to whether or not we will find another exploit and if the 360 will be fully hackable.

    I respect your work, and thank you for sharing your insights.

  5. hypervisor says:

    Hopefully you get sued by Microsoft now that they know who you are

  6. you ass sucker says:

    Fuch you, you stupid bitch….you think a few stupid words would make everything you done better….you’re worse than shit…i really pitty make the humankind look bad!

  7. pirichios says:

    You have done the right thing bunnie
    you took the right decision by being to be able to work on your finding without the fear of retaliation from microsoft, which will allow your work and research to continue in a safe way

  8. free60 forever says:

    You realy have done a grate job there guise. And I Think There is much much much better things to come in the future. You all guise are genius. I wish I could help in some ways.
    And I hope Mic…soft will understand soon, that as soon as they make another dash update with option > they market share in game console market will rise rapidly.

  9. free60 forever says:


  10. Confused says:

    I’m confused about all these dealings with MS. The hackers getting together with the people producing the products they are hacking into?? Sounds to me like you are “sleeping with the enemy”. I often wonder why after 1.5 years we are still left with no homebrew and no true exploits for the 360, while past consoles were already ripped wide open by this time. I know security gets better each gen but so do the tools to hack it. But now I am left to believe that even if an exploit is found some guilty hacker will run to MS and have it patched EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE HYPERVISOR exploit. I know the people involved will never admit how much you were paid(even if you deny it I won’t believe it). But hopefully a new breed of hacker comes along without the moral compass as hacking has always been and these “old fellas” who are now developing a consious can move aside. Well, Bill Gates thanks you and maybe he will break you off a couple pieces of solid gold toilet paper to wipe your mouth off after you get done servicing him..

  11. James says:

    what they did was commendable and full of common sense… a lot of hackers, especially these guys hack for the challenge – NOT just so 14 year old whiney brats can get halo 3 for free. Theyve beaten the challenge, proved their worth and dealt with things THE LEGAL way. what this means is xbox live isnt flooded with cheaters using hacked games, and microsoft pushes XNA more – which while not free – is a FANTASTIC system, and is already leading to homebrew that just wouldnt be possible otherwise. surely thats the way forward – not only is the homebrew on 360 enabled rather than blocked, its supported with tutorials, apps, content, the works.

    lets be honest, people with hacked consoles fall in to 3 groups
    80% = use for copied games
    19.9% = for homebrew
    0.1% = actually code homebrew

    once the distribution system for xna content is complete and joe blogs can get hold of the latest homebrew content through the blade interface, we’ll have the perfect homebrew system – easy, legit and safe, with the possibility of the coders actually getting a buck or two throught the shared advertising revenue.

    If true homebrew because as easy on 360 as it was on xbox and it is on PSP then coders wouldnt use xna and the infrastructure wouldnt work. I fully support these hackers in what theyve done because i can see the bigger picture and im not blinkered by isos and torrents.

    Ive already purchased a years XNA despite my coding not really being quite to the level in c# to be able to code a game, because i support what ms are doing and i wanna try out the homebrew before the distribution system is in play.

    imagine if they hadnt done this? apart from possible court cases, 360 games sales would go down, xna system wouldnt last and sony would win another round of the console war despite being more money grabbing and short sighted than the old MS.

    Hats off to both the hackers and MS on how they dealt with this.

  12. Confused says:

    James – You seem to have totally missed the spirit of homebrew. It’s not about paying a multi-billion dollar corp $99 to make the software and then again charge everyone for the download from the XNA service. Maybe you don’t know but you can’t even play any XNA program without paying MS $99 a year..If MS wasn’t filling their pockets with $$$ hacking or not XNA would be dead. Don’t blindly give yourself to these corporations because they do not give a flip about you and if given the chance would take every penny you own. Homebrew is about people coding/hacking for the love of the technology and the challenge for FREE to share with others for FREE. This is just like DLC for MS, they are thinking “How can we make a buck off all these homebrew people?”. Just like it was before the 360, “how can we make a buck off people who want to customize their 360 or people who want different tires on their car in PGR4”. Gaming and the 360 in general is a huge black hole created to suck every penny possible from the consumer. Don’t tarnish the homebrew scene by allowing it to be sold to you by a company like MS. Bunnie is damaged goods and I will be staying clear of this co-conspirator. And I will leave you with this last question.. Would something like XBMC even exist today if it was following the XNA model??

  13. A coder says:

    Confused, as a games programmer I’m pretty happy that things went this way. I would love to have homebrew on the 360… but if it means that most people will download the game I’ve spent a few years working on instead of buying it, I’m pretty happy that people like Bunnie and Felix are responsible enough to bring the issue to Microsoft. As for XNA, there’s a team that’s working on this product that needs money to live. You can use the FREE Visual Studio Express to develop for XNA, so paying 99 bucks to see your product running on a console is a joke.

  14. fuckbunnie says:

    fuck bunnie! quit joking yourself, he was paid.

  15. Tin says:

    hypervisor Says:

    May 17th, 2007 at 1:48 am
    Hopefully you get sued by Microsoft now that they know who you are
    Maybe you didn’t read it properly??? The dudes been to see MS, if they hadn’t the banning wouldn’t of started yesterday (no its not there fault, MS decided to ban, not them, before anyone gets any ideas). I wish they hadn’t of told them but the laws the law and they’re the ones who would of been fined hundereds of thousands o $’s and spent prob at least 5 years at the feds pleasure. maybe you should just stick to playing the halo3 beta (lets face it, your a sheep and prob only play games you’ve been told are good)

  16. S says:

    (Nothing to do with the exploit / disclosure / working with MS topic)

    Just wanted to say I followed a link to this site earlier today and was hooked.
    Have now spent the last 5 hours reading through the wonderful articles and topics on here, when I should have been working!

    Wow some great stuff, ideas, memories etc on here
    And those Chinese hardware stores.. amazing

    Keep up the good work and the amazing blog

    PS I also thing the last name the hardware was some sort camera/videocam/video+mp3 player
    And the link to the Commode 64 vs xbox 360 security presentation was great too. I can rememeber all the birs shown in the 1st 5 slides.

  17. Flash78 says:

    por tu culpa nos cagaron el live!

  18. enliteneer says:

    Slightly off topic, especially with so many negative posts, but I was reminded by the last poster mentioning Bunnie’s Chinese hardware stories..

    These stories are great! And I don’t know if Bunnie’s Xbox book made any money, but it was a very well written book… obvious to anyone that reads his blog on a regular basis, the man can write! I would love to see him write another technical book on how a product is brought up in China. Steps involved, legal issues, QA, lessons learned, specific board houses/assemblers/mechanical etc.

    Bunnie is a genius, and seems happy to share his knowledge and experience with everyone, which makes for a great author!!

  19. mr2000jp says:

    bunnie ;you’ve been my hero for a long time , you are a pro , and you have a lots of courage to go to M$ and talk to them and say it clearly to them that they need to give more freedom to people , but do you think that this will change the way they think , i don’t think so , people just become more of them selves , thats why i think that what they’ll say is “you want more freedom ,we will give you more freedom ,for a fee” , actually i dont mind to pay if the price is reasonable , but unfortunately , for me and people like me living in a country that is not in their list , this is a problem , since we need here to pay the price doubled just to be able to put our hands on their products , yes , double the price that the rich american pays , while half the price is far too expensive for us , thats why we always need to find an affordable way to get , now you know why i support the free home brew software , yes, because we cant pay for every little piece of software ,the full price,
    i think sony did a great job by letting the console boot another OS’s LEAGALLY , which will help the console be more usefull , more than just using it as a terminal to login and view only M$ high coast software and games ,

  20. Sold down the river says:

    You were scared of getting shafted by Billy boy so you shafted everyone else instead.

    Thanks dude, nice one.

    P.S. I bet Billy boy tastes salty doesn’t he?

  21. SiliconIce says:

    “As a result, I must walk a fine gray line, and I am continuously faced with many a difficult and ambiguous decision.”

    I don’t think any of the people who complain so loudly understand this predicament at all. It’s interesting and educational to learn about hardware, but…what if it’s at the expense of someone else’s livelihood? Enabling piracy is not a goal and can be an unfortunate side effect.

    I’ve even had (mostly friendly) comments made to me that the activities of hackers (like those on XBH) caused them to lose money on stock (at a job interview, no less). Regardless of the truth of the statement, it’s the perception that really matters. Some people can understand the value of the work, others cannot. Don’t underestimate the value of Microsoft’s blessing in legitimizing the work.

  22. tihopilik says:


    I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but shrug. I just don’t have anything to say recently.