U.S. Navy Hacking Used Consoles

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U.S. Navy Hacking Used Consoles

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The Navy is developing technology designed to retrieve "sensitive" information from used games consoles.

According to a recent listing on the U.S. Government's federal business opportunities log, the American Navy has just hired computing firm Obscure Technologies to purchase and then hack used games consoles, ranging from the Xbox 360 to the Wii, from overseas. The purpose of this endeavor is to create technology which can mine the old consoles for sensitive information captured by communications features but not, as you might have been thinking, so the Navy can admire your totally amazing gamerscore and be impressed by your obscure achievements. There's also a chance that they'll find the previous owners' credit card and personal details on any old 360s.

At the moment, the project forbids any hacking into consoles owned by American citizens living in the U.S. Obscure Technologies was chosen to carry out the work as it is apparently well-versed in console cracking, having previously "reverse-engineered" an Xbox 360. "Analysis of the game systems requires specific knowledge of working with the hardware of embedded systems that have significant anti-tampering technology," reads the Navy's notice. "Obscure Technologies has substantial experience in working with such systems."

Additionally, the Navy has no intention of keeping its outsourced Wii-scraping secret. Once the project is complete (Obscure Technologies' contract expires in July 2013), the Navy intends to share any results of interest and some of the hacking software it expects to develop with academics and associated publications. By the looks of things, however, any hacking hardware built by Obscure Technologies will be passed on only to Homeland Security's Science and Technology branch.

It's strange to think that while a ten year-old is busy berating you online that somewhere else on the network criminals could be sending messages to each other about upcoming illegal acts (much like how the wannabe Islamic terrorists in British film Four Lions attempt to hide their bomb-planning from the authories by communicating via a penguin-based version of Habbo Hotel, a scene which is based on recent realities). I wonder what they'll find on used Wiis? Do Pokémon with obscene names count as security threats? Regardless of anything else, expect the information released by Obscure Technologies next year to be, well, interesting.

Source: LiveScience

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that was fast. top brass must be reading escapist.

This is just one of those things where if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about.

Unless the mining tool went public, then things would be slightly different.

Also why is the Navy doing this? This is something i expected to be developed by the FBI or the Air Force.

The only thing I didn't see coming was the US NAVY part of that.

gigastar:
This is just one of those things where if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about.

Privacy is a thing, and to violate privacy has disastrous consequences and implications.
also, apparently this is youtube day for me.

Who wants to bet this starts as an Anti-Terrorism endeavour but once the government has this data several years down the line EVERY department will want it, that Universal Studios will be suing the government to reveal this data so they can sue people.

There needs to be congressional and legal protections that evidence collected from one crime cannot be used in another criminal investigation without due process and DEFINITELY not have it be used in any civil case.

Love how the project says they can't do it to US citizens but the rest of us can go fuck ourselves. You're not doing much to make us like you Mr. American government.

Zen Toombs:

gigastar:
This is just one of those things where if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about.

Privacy is a thing, and to violate privacy has disastrous consequences and implications.
also, apparently this is youtube day for me.

I never said it didnt, but this is obviously something that can be avoided by taking care to destroy your old consoles, just like that thing with hackers being able to retrieve personal information off such second hand consoles.

After all, they cant mine anything if the major working components of your console are in a hundred teeny little pieces and scattered throughout the scrapyard/dump/landfill/river/lake/sewer.

After all, i find taking things apart to be much easier than putting things together.

seriously guys, cold war is over. chill the fuck down. i doubt the next airplane hijackers do their business dealings in fucking xboxes.

Land of the Free, home of the brave? The ACLU is going to have a field day.

Oops, read it properly,

Well, Mr OR Mrs/Ms/Miss American Navy, this is why it's popular to bag the US, even today. You got rid of Bush, sure, but you still act like international douchebags ^_^ some of the time.

After I read that the US Navy used PS3s and networked them into a single supercomputer, nothing really surprises me anymore...

Also, let this be a lesson to any gamer out there: buy game cards from the 7-11 and you never have to worry about your credit card being found during a hack.

And in the great scheme of things:

''Nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.''
-Carlin

Team Amer---Sorry, the U. S. Navy can go fuck itself.

gigastar:

Zen Toombs:

gigastar:
This is just one of those things where if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to worry about.

Privacy is a thing, and to violate privacy has disastrous consequences and implications.
also, apparently this is youtube day for me.

I never said it didnt, but this is obviously something that can be avoided by taking care to destroy your old consoles, just like that thing with hackers being able to retrieve personal information off such second hand consoles.

After all, they cant mine anything if the major working components of your console are in a hundred teeny little pieces and scattered throughout the scrapyard/dump/landfill/river/lake/sewer.

After all, i find taking things apart to be much easier than putting things together.

Accepted and very true, but that doesn't change that the idea that "if you have nothing to hid you have nothing to worry about" is incorrect.

Hevva:

It's strange to think that while a ten year-old is busy berating you online that somewhere else on the network criminals could be sending messages to each other about upcoming illegal acts (much like how the wannabe Islamic terrorists in British film Four Lions attempt to hide their bomb-planning from the authories by communicating via a penguin-based version of Habbo Hotel, a scene which is based on recent realities)

What the what?

Also, there is a typo in thee. 'Authories' should be 'authorities'

Ok, this is more viable than people are giving it credit for. For example consider the PS3 with its web browser capability. A browser I might add that does not conform to atypical standards like chrome or firefox transferred into a non windows, mac, or linux OS. In a way people could use consoles in this manner to create a slightly more secured shell for communication.

For example PShome. It might be risky for terrorists to send direct emails to each other to communicate their plans for risk of tripping a CARNIVORE alert, but Say they interact via PShome the data itself is going to be buried under service layer under service layer till scanning protocol would be rendered useless.

Now granted in that example, theres like no chance of the navy getting their hands on a terrorists PS3, but the point is, it IS a usable medium in that fashion, so in that respect it does make sense to look at it as a potential tool.\

Its definitely an issue more nuanced and subtle than people are giving it credit for.

us navy.. stealing credit card details for national defence since 2012

Once knowledge of the file structure of the consoles' local storage is established, I can't imagine the list of useful data would be very large: name, contact & billing info, browsing history. It's not like a PS3 has an email application, much less a POP3 one. At that point, it would be more of an issue to subpoena info from the pertinent websites.

This story isn't anything bigger & scarier than the Navy/Army/Police/etc. learning how to extract data from something like a smartphone. Less, actually, due to the specialized nature of gaming consoles.

VonKlaw:
Love how the project says they can't do it to US citizens but the rest of us can go fuck ourselves. You're not doing much to make us like you Mr. American government.

That never stops being hilarious. Like when the US government gets flak for the strike on that muslim guy in Yemen, or authorizes the indefinite military detention (without trial) of citizens and everyone's horrified...except for all the idiots who voted for it, obviously...giving us all that nice moral backwash of "Oh right, NOW it's horrible, because now you'll admit doing it to American citizens too."

What? Why does my credit statement say that I bought three fighter jets and an aircraft carrier? Damn you Navy! *Shakes fist*
Seriously, what a weird and possibly shady practice. I don't think they'll actually accomplish anything important with this though.

Precisely how is that legal?

So... How... But... What...

Basically, the US navy declared war on the rest of the world?
I mean, what does this mean? I live in Europe. Does that mean the USA can legally hack into my stuff, now?

First they can extradite UK citizens for crimes illegal in the USA but not in their own country where they performed this non-crime...
Now the USA can legally hack into other nation's citizens consoles?

TheBelgianGuy:
So... How... But... What...

Basically, the US navy declared war on the rest of the world?
I mean, what does this mean? I live in Europe. Does that mean the USA can legally hack into my stuff, now?

First they can extradite UK citizens for crimes illegal in the USA but not in their own country where they performed this non-crime...
Now the USA can legally hack into other nation's citizens consoles?

I think it stands as quasi-legal because Obscure Technologies/whomever will have bought the consoles prior to hacking them, making them the legal property of the US military. I think. Governments are up to this kind of business all the time anyhow - ever hear of the Echelon listening posts?

Kopikatsu:

Hevva:

It's strange to think that while a ten year-old is busy berating you online that somewhere else on the network criminals could be sending messages to each other about upcoming illegal acts (much like how the wannabe Islamic terrorists in British film Four Lions attempt to hide their bomb-planning from the authories by communicating via a penguin-based version of Habbo Hotel, a scene which is based on recent realities)

What the what?

Also, there is a typo in thee. 'Authories' should be 'authorities'

Thanks for the typo-notice. Also, as far as I remember, that particular scene in Four Lions was based on chatter in the British media a few years ago about how Islamic terrorists were using obscure messaging services to try and dodge MI5's attempts at listening to their terrorism-chat. It was around the same time as the debate over whether or not the police should have the power to hold people for thirty days or more without filing charges other than "might be a terrorist" was going on. I think the Sun even accused them of "training" and plotting at the same time onCall of Duty, but the reports were, well, Sun-grade, to put it diplomatically.

FEichinger:
Precisely how is that legal?

Because the Navy bought the 360's, therefore all of the data on it is theirs. You know, like how people on this forum complain 'I bought it, so I should have access to EVERYTHING on it'. Well, this is one reason why that line of logic is flawed.

Seriously, guys, how is this any different, ethics-wise, from most other forms of intelligence gathering that all developed countries use in order to protect their borders?

See, this is what you get when you don't have the right to privacy properly documented in your constitution.

Right, because american citizens are totally the only people worth caring about..

What's even worse than that is that if it were anybody else doing this, not even for this purpose, you'd get sued for violating the EULA or some shit.

Kopikatsu:

FEichinger:
Precisely how is that legal?

Because the Navy bought the 360's, therefore all of the data on it is theirs. You know, like how people on this forum complain 'I bought it, so I should have access to EVERYTHING on it'. Well, this is one reason why that line of logic is flawed.

I'm more referring to the hacking itself than hacking-those-specific-consoles. Wouldn't ... or rather Shouldn't Microsoft complain about people openly hacking their intellectual property?

Now you're really weird, Captcha ... point-blank ... Seriously?

FEichinger:

Kopikatsu:

FEichinger:
Precisely how is that legal?

Because the Navy bought the 360's, therefore all of the data on it is theirs. You know, like how people on this forum complain 'I bought it, so I should have access to EVERYTHING on it'. Well, this is one reason why that line of logic is flawed.

I'm more referring to the hacking itself than hacking-those-specific-consoles. Wouldn't ... or rather Shouldn't Microsoft complain about people openly hacking their intellectual property?

Now you're really weird, Captcha ... point-blank ... Seriously?

They aren't actually hacking as far as I can tell, they're data mining. Which is legal. Hacking is not.

draythefingerless:
seriously guys, cold war is over. chill the fuck down. i doubt the next airplane hijackers do their business dealings in fucking xboxes.

This is what I don't get at all. What do they hope to find on these? The names of random people? The console itself doesn't store a backlog of messages, that's all on the microsoft or sony network. And even if they did, what terrorist group is coordinating over the cumbersome message system of PSN or Xbox Live?

They're going to scan the console get a name, address and probably credit card of some guy in some country. Then what?

And how much money is the USA spending on this operation, exactly? I can't help but feel it would have been better spent elsewhere.

or.. maybe.. the navy is using that as cover for their data finding on what people like for their own game developement team! The army, marines, airforce. already have places in games. Navy gets no love and so they want to make a navy game to show just how awesome it is. and they wanna make it so everyone can play it! =D just a thought.

and the whole pokemon thing. if north korea or cuba had a mewtwo i'd freak out too. that or send in raquaza or lugia to capture him. That is how wars should be fought. pokemon style!

Hmmm... interesting , so if I bought a lot of US consoles and hacked the credit details out the box it would be legal ?

I very much doubt the US security would be quiet if they heard / read that EU countries were hacking old US consoles for left over user details... in fact I wouldnt be suprised if there was extradition forms slapped around should any EU state try that shit.

If it isnt an issue, or the data mined isnt sensitive... why the stipulation about not using US citizens consoles, surely it would be easier to use local consoles from the 2nd hand market than import the machines.

... and then there the fact this news is all too close to the global day of trolls for me to believe anything I read / hear.

VonKlaw:
Love how the project says they can't do it to US citizens but the rest of us can go fuck ourselves. You're not doing much to make us like you Mr. American government.

And then they start pointing fingers when the 'Chinese' make their hacking presence felt. I don't think it's as bad as the sentence wording suggests, I think they're just keen to keep up with the opposition. I hope observing such tiny, insignificant, unimportant factors such as international law and the sovereignty of other nations would be a given in a project like this...I hope.

Health care system: shit.

Crime rate: too high.

Suicide rate: more than zero.

Economy: really shit.

Legal system: totally fucked.

Water and power: privatized.

"I have an idea, guys! We should spend a bunch of money that we don't have on digging through used Wii's."

...

...

"Brilliant! Let's do it!"

Kopikatsu:

FEichinger:

Kopikatsu:

Because the Navy bought the 360's, therefore all of the data on it is theirs. You know, like how people on this forum complain 'I bought it, so I should have access to EVERYTHING on it'. Well, this is one reason why that line of logic is flawed.

I'm more referring to the hacking itself than hacking-those-specific-consoles. Wouldn't ... or rather Shouldn't Microsoft complain about people openly hacking their intellectual property?

Now you're really weird, Captcha ... point-blank ... Seriously?

They aren't actually hacking as far as I can tell, they're data mining. Which is legal. Hacking is not.

Well, we're talking about a company allegedly reverse-engineering a X360, so ... Get my drift?

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