Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Wii U has been hacked (wiikey.com)
59 points by ssclafani 1664 days ago | hide | past | web | 49 comments | favorite

The truly sad thing about the state of console security for the past few generations is that as they lock them down more, it becomes significantly easier to play pirated games than to use homebrew content. With both the Xbox 360 and the Wii, it took (very) simple drive authentication hacks to get pirated content to run, but many manhours (probably in the high single-digit manyears, honestly) to get homebrew on either of them.

At the end of the day, it's infinitely easier to make a drive say "oh, yes, that disc is clearly on original materials" than to subvert, say, signature checks for code authentication, as required for homebrew code. The console manufacturers really screwed themselves here.

If wonder if with the rumored always-on Internet requirement for the next Xbox, it will spur the creation of a ton of private servers for Xbox games, with most next-gen Xbox players playing pirated games on those private servers, instead of the expensive always-on DRM'ed games from the Xbox store. I figure this should be that much easier with the next Xbox using PC hardware.

It would be quite ironic if by forcing always-on DRM on users, the next Xbox becomes the most hacked/with most pirated games console ever.

Given that the Xbox 360 was damn near bulletproof (there have been very few attacks against it, even still), I expect that the next generation is going to be an even bigger step up, not a step backwards. If you can't compromise code running on the device, then you're not going to be able to inject new cert chains and be able to MITM connections or use private servers, as I strongly doubt that they'll mess up those handshakes.

This won't kill homebrew nor piracy, but it's going to put a massive dent in both. Nothing is unbreakable in theory, but when the cost of a break raises to a certain point, it's effectively unbreakable in practice; they're rapidly approaching that point, if they haven't hit it already.

All of this makes me pretty sad, really. I'm no supporter of piracy, and I don't generally use homebrew software, but I'm going to miss the challenge of breaking consoles. I remember sitting in my apartment in San Diego back in early 2006, with bunnie and a couple other guys, modifying shaders on the King Kong demo from the kiosk disc in an attempt to read out memory from the 360 and display it. I didn't have much interaction with the 360 scene after that stuff, but sitting around and coming up with angles of attack with the best and brightest in the console community was just amazingly fun.

What do you mean by bulletproof? 99% of all Xbox 360's here in Uruguay are hacked - maybe what you mean is that all of them were through the same exploit/attack?.

I can see that they must have raised security A LOT, but it seems it hasn't stopped the pirates.

> 99% of all Xbox 360's here in Uruguay are hacked

as in they flashed the disc reader's firmware to have it say 'yes, this is a legit disc', which does not invalidate the fact that the code on the disc is signed.

> What do you mean by bulletproof?

bulletproof as in even partial access to the hardware to execute random, sideloaded, unsigned code on the CPU is extremely involved, if at all possible.

Thanks for the clarification :) .

From a practical purpose, it doesn't sound bulletproof, but for the homebrew community it sure does.

"Under Microsoft's current guidelines, which may still be changed, the decision of whether a game will require an internet connection to work and if that is a one-time authentication or a constant connection, will be left up to individual publishers."

source: http://www.polygon.com/2013/4/26/4268782/next-xbox-drm-achie...

That rumour has been debunked several times by journalists. To be fair, their debunking is also a rumour, but it's still good to keep that in mind.

"The console manufacturers really screwed themselves here."

In what way exactly? Would enabling homebrew in some way subert piracy? You can make games for 360 if you want through their indie games platform for a mere $100.

You could argue that enabling homebrew would sell more hardware and/or software I suppose. Is that your argument? That 360 would have been more successful for Microsoft if it allowed homebrew?

the PlayStation 3 remained unhacked until Sony retroactively removed home brew functionality, and created a lot of interest in doing so.

Ah, so we agree. Microsoft did not screw themselves in any way from their decisions. Excellent.

No that is quite clearly not what was stated, please take the disingenuous bs elsewhere.

The example given was that for both the 360 and Wii it took simple authentication hacks to run pirated content but vast amounts of work to run homebrew. It was then claimed this decision making screwed the console manufacturers. You brought up an example of a different platform (ps3) and a different situation (did support homebrew, then stopped).

I'm still waiting to hear how Microsoft and/or Nintendo screwed themselves exactly.

This is why I like an open console like the OUYA (which I should be receiving any day now).

I would like it more if it was a true console with no yearly refreshes.

I'm quite curious how far they've gotten and how they did it. For the record, the security of the Wii U software was pretty thoroughly broken by the group fail0verflow and friends, including me, as of last Christmas, with the goal of running homebrew, but a lot of work still needed to be done - both reverse engineering, to find additional vulnerabilities, integrate with the OS, and use nonstandard hardware like the GamePad, and the regular kind, in order to do things like run Linux - and interest and time spent petered out around then, without anything being released. I'm bummed out about it, but I'm spending my time posting on Hacker News rather than doing anything to help. ;p

Interesting, I guess the thing about the WiiU is you've almost got two devices in one, does the game pad need jail breaking independently? Or is it just a display as far as the console is concerned?

I haven't been involved with GamePad hacking, but from what I understand, the GamePad firmware is upgradable but does not have any security, so it needs to be reverse engineered, but not hacked as such.

Is there any central repo of progress this far?

It has been kept secret, partly to prevent Nintendo from patching vulnerabilities, partly, I think, to prevent it from being used for dubious purposes before a proper homebrew stack could be released. Certainly this style of development did not impress me back when I was an outsider, but, well...

Too bad there aren't really any good Wii U games. That system has been a real disappointment. I hope Nintendo releases those updates soon. And a decent library.

ZombiU, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Nintendo Land are all great, and there are some pretty good multiplatform games too.

The Wii U has been out for about half a year. Has ANY console actually had even a decent library at this point in their lifespan? Basically every console starts with a couple mediocre exclusives, one or two good exclusives, and a ton of ports. (And god forbid if they're bad ports.) It's usually only the fall following a console's launch that good games start coming in any appreciable number.

ZombiU? Great? I dunno about that. The others I have and are good but my WiiU mostly collects dust.

Again, that's the norm six months into a console, Nintendo or not. If it bothers you, don't buy a console at launch and just wait a year or two for more games to be available and the price to drop.

The top-tier first-party games (Super Smash Bros, Wind Waker HD) are expected to be announced/demoed in a few weeks at E3, but by the time they hit the shelves, it may be too late.

This seems to be a theme with Nintendo, and it's rather unfortunate. When I first got the Wii, I was blown away by the console itself, but I was rather underwhelmed with most of the games available (Super Mario Galaxy was the only one at the time that both used the Wiimote extensively and was fun to play).

Nintendo has a pattern of overdelivering with the consoles, and then underdelivering with the games available for said console (at least at first).

EDIT: I should add that this is a relatively recent pattern; the N64 and the Game Boy Color are definitely stronger as platforms (with all their available games) than as consoles. Somewhere between the Game Boy Advance -> 3DS (which has terrible game availability for an awesome console) and the GameCube -> Wii, the pattern reversed itself.

The N64 has a fantastic library of games (and had very good launch titles) and a mediocre console.

N64 was the opposite. Great console (hardware texture filtering was amazing compared to what the PS1 was offering), but serious lack of software.

There were 2 US launch titles for N64. Admittedly, they were very good games - Super Mario 64 and PilotWings64.

The European launch (5? 6 months later) had those two, plus Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.

I bought exactly zero non-first-party games for my Wii. (My collection includes LoZ:TP, Brawl, SMG 1+2, and Super Paper Mario. That's it.)

You should pick up Skyward Sword, ASAP!

That ship has sailed, unfortunately. Plus I didn't want to pay $20 for the mandatory Wii Motion+ just to use it for one game.

Yeah that's what's stopping me from playing SS as well. I have an older Wii-mote without the Wii Motion+ so I need to buy that in addition to the first party game that will never see a price drop.

You should look for older games where the dongle was included gratis, like Red Steel 2 or Tiger Woods 10. Worked for me!

Also, the ping pong game (and 100 pin bowling) in Wii Sports Resort is probably worth the money for the whole disc, which is another way to get the dongle.

Ah and just arrived in my inbox: a notification of a new system update for the Wii U!

all nintendo consoles since the snes are like that.

they keep regurgitating the same franchises.

they almost did something new with n64/gamecube, but just because the 3d shift forced them to. (e.g. pikmin)

the DS almost pushed the envelope again, but they quickly settled to just regurgitating old franchises again with an extra map screen or something else that is irrelevant.

That's because those franchises are what Nintendo has control of, and in their limited dev time/budget for studios, they are going to focus on putting out the next franchise title, because that's what fans want of Nintendo.

I think the problem is that the Nintendo platform differentiates itself on actually being different, and in this day that isn't exactly a selling point for game publishers, even if it is for the consumers.

Would you as a game designer/publisher rather build new game customized to the experience possible with the Wii or Wii-U, with their limited audience, or would you program to the lowest common denominator so you can ship on all consoles (keeping in mind that the more you customize for one, the harder it is to maintain the integrity of the experience of the game)?

Since the industry is completely stagnated and the big studios only cash proportionally to what they spend in marketing, i guess they should embrace one innovative platform and try to be the hallmark there. risky, but the rewards could be much better than churning out lame game after lame game.

But ultimately, i shouldn't care much about that. That's a market issue nintend surely foresaw when launching wii and wiiU. i'm just buying a console on the promises (by nintendo) that games will be fun and utilize the full potential (did they demo 12 clones of call of duty on their launch videos? because that's pretty much what's available). Nintendo should be doing a better job there. even if it's opening the devkit to everyone. They have failed me. ...is the wiiU a failure because of what? i wonder.

This is rather surprising, the 3DS has been out a lot longer, and as far as I know remains unhacked.

If by "hacked" you accept "flash carts", then it appears to be hacked: http://www.r43ds.com/ (and a few other brands)

edit: ah, nevermind, see other comments.

You sure? I could swear a friend of mine had something at least a year ago that allowed him to play just about anything he wanted on it. Maybe that was the older DS?

There are a range of carts.

These carts play DS games, they do not play 3DS games.

Each time the console gets an upgrade (DS to DSi; DSxl; 3DS; etc) some of the carts stop working, and manufacturers use it as a marketing opportunity.

Cards usually tack '3ds' on the name. EG: "R4i3DS". But these just play DS games on the 3DS. (Some of them include GBA emulation functionality; nothing could play GBA games on the NDS cart slot until recently.)

The DS stuff still works in DS mode, though they periodically make firmware releases that try to lock them out. Nothing executes in 3DS mode, though.

there are sd carts that allow you to play ds games on 3ds, that is as far as they have gone

Wiikey seems to be down. HEre's a article about it:


I don't quite see how this is a new thing though, as there was a hack of the Wii U literally on launch day. http://www.dcemu.co.uk/vbulletin/threads/511978-WiiU-Running...! So the title should be "Wii U has been hacked again, better".


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact