“Hacking The Xbox” Released For Free In Honor Of [Aaron Swartz]

Hacking the Xbox Cover

[Bunnie], the hardware hacker who first hacked into the original Xbox while at MIT, is releasing his book on the subject for free. The book was originally released in 2003, and delves into both the technical and legal aspects of hacking into the console.

The book is being released along with an open letter from [Bunnie]. He discusses the issues he faced with MIT legal and copyright law when working on the project, and explains that the book is being released to honor [Aaron Swartz]. [Swartz] committed suicide in January following aggressive prosecution by the US government.

The book is a great read on practical applications of hardware hacking. It starts off with simple hacks: installing a blue LED, building a USB adapter for the device’s controller ports, and replacing the power supply. The rest of the book goes over how the security on the device was compromised, and the legal implications of pulling off the hack.

[Bunnie]’s open letter is worth a read, it explains the legal bullying that hackers deal with from a first hand prospective. The book itself is a fantastic primer on hardware hacking, and with this release anyone who hasn’t read it should grab the free PDF.

23 thoughts on ““Hacking The Xbox” Released For Free In Honor Of [Aaron Swartz]

  1. This is a really great read. I bought a copy way back when it was first released and tore through it. It really goes through the thought process as well as the technical details of reverse engineering a system. There are a couple wank chapters about changing the LED colors and stuff for the people that just bought it because of keywords “hack” and “xbox” but it’s pretty obvious they were tacked on and don’t get in the way of the good stuff. The other great thing is that you can get one of those original xboxes for like 20 bucks these days so if you wanted to follow along, you can recreate the hacks as you go. If you are at all interested in reverse engineering or even hardware design in general, I really recommend this book. Plus Bunnie is the man in general, so if you don’t know who he is, you really should find out.

  2. Half of the book, the part on hacking the Xbox security, is good. The other half is really basic stuff anyone with a soldering iron should be able to work out and felt like filler material. Still, not a bad book for free.

      1. I think you got it wrong, it got nothing with the US or SGP government being authoritarian. It is he has to go to China to check on his suppliers oftenly and find SGP a better place to live in. Not political, but hospitable.

        1. “A few years ago, I started rebuilding my life overseas, and I find a quantum of solace in the thought that my residence abroad makes it a little more difficult to be served.” << this implies that he is hiding out from the out of control American legal system.

          1. Incorrect … if he had been served, it would have been because Microsoft sued him for exposing their proprietary information. Would have had nothing to do with the current state of the US a legal system.

  3. From the letter; “It saddens me that America’s so-called government for the people, by the people, and of the people has less compassion and enlightenment toward their fellow man than a corporation”

    When it finally dawned on me the USA was created the land owners & merchants; a government of for merchants, by the merchants, and of the merchants, has to be more accurate than the ditty we where feed & continue to be feed. After that light bulb went off what I reading & seeing was clearer. Not there’s much I can do about it. To close, a thank you for sharing both the book & your thoughts in the open letter.

    1. occam’s razor Sole42
      he was a young man looking to years of jail time that’s a heck of a reason to commit suicide. I’ve known people that have committed suicide over losing a girlfriend. In no way does this clear the government from its many wrong doings in this and many other cases like this. But going off into nut job conspiracy world is doing Swartz memory a huge injustice no matter how good and world view confirming it may feel to you.

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