Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nintendo Wii security defeated by the Tweezer Attack

According to a presentation at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress, hackers have apparently been able to defeat the Nintendo Wii game console's security system using tweezers to bypass the hardware memory protection.

The way it works is that the Wii runs in two modes: a GameCube emulation mode, which has access to just 1/8th of the total memory, and Wii mode, that has access to all the memory.

Hackers had already figured out how to run their own code in GameCube mode. So the trick was to run their code in GameCube mode, then use the tweezers to short out the address lines to allow the hacker's code to access parts of rest of the memory. By shorting different address lines different portions of memory were made available. By collecting enough shards they eventually mapped all of memory.

Apparently the Wii operating system keeps its digital signature keys in this protected memory, and once the digital signatures were found it was possible to sign and run homebrew code on the Wii.

It is not clear to me whether the attack is a per-machine attack or a break-once-run-everywhere attack.

1 comment:

lauren said...

As the security mechanisms improved so is the knowledge of hackers.Although this is very old post but I never knew that this happened that hackers have been able to defeat the Nintendo Wii game console's security system using tweezers to bypass the hardware memory protection.
eSignature