Modded Xbox 360s jailbroken with 'un-ban' hack?

Modded Xbox 360s recently banned from Xbox LIVE by Microsoft may 'get out of jail free' with the help of a new firmware hack.

A hacker eager to reconnect modded Xbox 360s banned by Microsoft in recent days may be on the verge of releasing a workaround. According to 360Mods (by way of DailyTech), user 'c4eva' has shifted gears from developing Lite-on and Hitachi optical drive mods to creating a firmware rev that would allow modded Xbox 360s to bypass Microsoft's online security tests.

Called iXtreme LT (for 'light touch') the mod's being designed to resemble the Xbox 360's standard firmware while performing minimal security checks. If successful, it would allow gamers with modded Xbox 360s to play custom-burned DVDs as well as illegal versions of games online without drawing Microsoft's eye.

DailyTech initially reported the fix was available, then retracted the story and later published a revised version, noting "No ETA for fix, but modders are hard at work."

Modifying an Xbox 360 isn't technically illegal, but using it to play pirated games is. Some gamers argue the modified systems are only used to create backups of legitimately purchased games, install alternative operating systems, or play DVDs from different regions, though given general piracy rates, it seems likely a majority use the mod chip to access pirated versions of games, or keep illegal copies of otherwise legitimate versions they've sold.

It's still not exactly clear exactly how Microsoft's ban selection works or whether it only affects modded Xbox 360s whose owners actually engaged in illicit activities, but estimates of affected ranged from "a small percentage" of LIVE subscribers to a more significant 600,000 players on up to 1 million LIVE accounts, depending who you read.

DailyTech's sources claim the ban blocks game installations to the hard drive and the Windows Media Player extender, corrupts save games and Gamertags, and disallows the console from accessing Xbox LIVE.

Is it really just a matter of time before someone comes up with a workaround? Will we shortly be referring to Xbox 360s as either "stock" or "jailbroken"?

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Matt Peckham

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