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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2005, 09:17 GMT
Xbox 360 copy protection cracks
Screen shot from Gun, Activision
The raw data for 13 Xbox 360 games has been downloaded
Hackers have taken the first step towards breaking the anti-piracy system on Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console.

A group of crackers called Team PI Coder says it has discovered the basic workings of the console's file system.

The information has helped the group dig out the raw data from the console for 13 Xbox 360 games.

In response Microsoft said its console had several security systems in place that would prevent pirated games being played on it.

Starting point

Information about the work of Team PI Coder was posted to a Dutch piracy site along with the raw data from the games. There was also links to a small program the group produced that helps to extract the data.

In the text file with the extracted data, the PI Coders admit that not much can be done with the data.

"You can't run these dumps yet, but you will be able to sooner or later," reads the information file.

The crackers have not managed to get the data off game disks, instead they have dug out the version of the game that the Xbox 360 creates when gamers start playing.

The crackers said they were releasing the raw data to help other hacking groups start the task of working out how the Xbox 360 tries to stop piracy.

"So the first task is done," wrote Team PI in the information files. "We hope this encourages all hackers, coders and crackers out there to take up the challenge."

Using the raw data could prove a challenge because the extraction has left intact the protection systems that ensure that copies will not run on an Xbox 360.

The non-standard format of Xbox 360 DVDs also means that a PC DVD drive will not read them either.

A spokesman for Microsoft said there had been a series of improvements to the Xbox 360 that protect it against cracking.

He said that hardware on the system only allows Microsoft certified and signed programs to run on the console. This meant that copied games would not be recognised by the system and would not run.

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