Hacking the Xbox

Hacking the Xbox

An Introduction to Reverse Engineering
by Andrew "bunnie" Huang
July 2003, 288 pp.
Sorry, no ebook is available for this title. (Why not?)

In honor of Aaron Swartz, we're releasing Hacking the Xbox for free.
Read bunnie's letter and download the PDF.

This hands-on guide to hacking was canceled by the original publisher out of fear of DMCA-related lawsuits. Following the author's self-publication of the book (during which time he sold thousands directly), Hacking the Xbox is now brought to you by No Starch Press.

Hacking the Xbox begins with a few step-by-step tutorials on hardware modifications that teach basic hacking techniques as well as essential reverse-engineering skills. It progresses into a discussion of the Xbox security mechanisms and other advanced hacking topics, emphasizing the important subjects of computer security and reverse engineering. The book includes numerous practical guides, such as where to get hacking gear, soldering techniques, debugging tips, and an Xbox hardware reference guide.

Hacking the Xbox confronts the social and political issues facing today's hacker, and introduces readers to the humans behind the hacks through several interviews with master hackers. It looks at the potential impact of today's legal challenges to legitimate reverse-engineering activites, which are further examined in a chapter contributed by Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about the rights and responsibilities of hackers. The book concludes with a discussion of the latest trends and vulnerabilities in secure PC platforms.

Hurry and get Hacking the Xbox before Microsoft does!

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Voiding The Warranty
Chapter 2: Thinking Inside The Box
Chapter 3: Installing a Blue LED
Chapter 4: Building a USB Adapter
Chapter 5: Replacing a Broken Power Supply
Chapter 6: The Best Xbox Game: Security Hacking
Chapter 7: A Brief Primer on Security
Chapter 8: Reverse Engineering Xbox Security
Chapter 9: Sneaking In the Back Door
Chapter 10: More Hardware Projects
Chapter 11: Developing Software for the Xbox
Chapter 12: Caveat Hacker
Chapter 13: Onward!
Appendix A: Where to Get Your Hacking Gear
Appendix B: Soldering Techniques
Appendix C: Getting Into PCB Layout
Appendix D: Getting Started with FPGAs
Appendix E: Debugging: Hints and Tips
Appendix F: Xbox Hardware Reference


"A piece of simple, succinct eloquence, this has fast become one of the most treasured books we own."

"Hacking the Xbox is fast becoming the bible of a controversial geek movement called mod-chipping. Armed with soldering irons, Huang and his cronies are cracking open Microsoft's video-game machine and grafting in chips that modify the Xbox to do cool, but unsanctioned, things such as playing MP3s, Japanese import games and pirated titles, or running the Linux operating system. It's not just a hobby it's a Ralph Nader-esque
Rolling Stone, Issue 933, Oct. 16, 2003

Announcement of appearance by Hacking the Xbox author Andrew "bunnie" Huang
BoingBoing.net, November 20, 2006 (Read more)

Photo of author bunnie Huang and link to Hacking The XBox website posted
Wonderland blog, March 25, 2005 (Read more)

Highlighted in article exploring (self-)image of today's hackers
MIT Tech Review, "Hack License," March 2005 (Read article)

"Hacking the Xbox is a must read for someone interested in hardware hacking."
PGNx Media

"Although it's a technical book, it unfolds like a spy novel."

"The book aims to teach readers how to think like a hardware hacker, using the internal secrets of the game console the way a medical school teacher uses Gray's Anatomy"
Dale Ferris, Golden Triangle PC Club

Rated 9 out of 10 horseshoes on JavaRanch: "If you have ever opened up a computer, appliance, or other electronic goodie to see how it works, then Hacking the XBox is for you. Actually even if you are curious and interested just from the cover of this book, then you should get it."

"Huang's book is part digital electronics DIY manual (including soldering tips), part legal discussion, and part narrative... his account of how he cracked the Xbox is fascinating and his perseverance is awesome."
Personal Computer World, UK

Rated perfect 10: "I was shocked, delighted and rather intrigued when the book arrived...The project pages were well thought out, but the electronic civil liberties section blew me away... If you are interested in hardware, software hacking and reverse engineering - this book should be on your shelf (even if you don't have an Xbox)."
E. Jonathan Hardy, TechWeek TV!

Rated 4.5/5 stars: "An interesting and informative read."

"This book should be required in any 'Intro to Computer Science' class... If you enjoy hacking (and I mean that in the original meaning of the word - not the meaning understood by the media at large), this is a book you'll want to have on your shelf. "

To get a sample of the buzz generated by this book, see the following stories from TechTV, E- Commerce Times, CNET, and the news for nerds site, Slashdot.