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Xbox forensics toolkit targets criminal gamers

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posted on May, 1 2009 @ 06:07 PM
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Xbox forensics toolkit targets criminal gamers


Source

A digital forensics expert at Sam Houston State University in Texas is developing a utility for the Xbox 360 to help police find illegal audio, video and text files hidden on its hard drive.
Davids Collins believes that criminals often hide illicit data on the Xbox in the hope that a gaming console will not be seen as a likely evidence target, especially when conventional personal computers are present.
(visit the link for the full news article)



[edit on 5/1/09 by Djdoubt03]

[edit on 5/1/09 by Djdoubt03]




posted on May, 1 2009 @ 06:07 PM
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Very interesting. I never though about hiding anything on a gaming system. I just assumed that all HD whether computer or game console worked the same.

Xbox 360 does not have a web browser so what type of evidence could some one hide on the system. Who would go through the trouble of finding the proper programs and connections required to connect a Xbox HD to a computer. While committing a crime who has the time to do this?

I also would have thought that big brother would already have tools like these.



Anybody have any discussion about this?



Source
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 5/1/09 by Djdoubt03]



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 06:11 PM
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The criminal who invade peoples privacy, what about them/

Microsoft are just scum, aren't they. Just glad i do not own a xbox



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by andy1033
 


I would agree on that except if you read the article, it's not Microsoft making this tool, it's a forensics expert in Texas.

I assume that it could equally be usedon a Wii or a PS3..



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by andy1033
The criminal who invade peoples privacy, what about them/

Microsoft are just scum, aren't they. Just glad i do not own a xbox


What does this have to do with Microsoft? Why does an independent lab developing a toolkit to browse an XBox make Microsoft into scum?

Did you read the post or article that it references?



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by Djdoubt03
 


It's pretty easy to transfer music and video from a pc to a 360. I just don't see the type of person that is so concerned about getting busted for piracy, thinking that it would be a good idea to store all of their illegal data on a device that is meant to connect to anyone and everyone on the net. Not to mention that the 360HDD is pretty small.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
reply to post by Djdoubt03
 


It's pretty easy to transfer music and video from a pc to a 360. I just don't see the type of person that is so concerned about getting busted for piracy, thinking that it would be a good idea to store all of their illegal data on a device that is meant to connect to anyone and everyone on the net. Not to mention that the 360HDD is pretty small.



With the Xbox HDD being so small and expensive, and going by what the article said, I would guess that this technology isn't being developed to target people who download illegal mp3's.

This is more for folks who have child porn (the real deal, not 16 year old emo girls in the bathroom) and records of computer fraud that they are trying to hide from the feds.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:43 PM
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This would be used in cases where the police or feds raid a home and confiscate all the computers, printers, and other electronics, such as cases involving child pornography, criminal hacking, or credit card fraud.

Its designed to find and recover files that a suspect may have hidden on an Xbox or other non-traditional computer.

I've seen utilities distributed among "hackers" that allows one to store data, usually encrypted files of a criminal nature, on non-traditional computer devices such as a digital camera or game console. Police tend not to recover those types of devices since they aren't seen as a storage medium.

I believe there is a whole community of "Xbox modders" dedicated to turning their Xboxes into full-blown computers with a working version of either linux or windows OS.

So in this case the forensic tool isn't as sinister as it sounds.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:45 PM
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Wouldn't you just store data on an encyrpted hard drive?



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 07:56 PM
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FATX has been cracked since the first retail mod chips were introduced for the original xbox. Nothing new there.
Anyone who knows anything about modding consoles knows that browsing the file system is just a matter of running an alternative operating system. Typically, being able to do so involves voiding the console warranty and/or breaking copyright law and insinuates circumvention of the security features of said console.
All any console OS does is allows you to browse the file system using a specific GUI, network with other networked consoles and present the information in various logical(or not) arrangements...a glorified file/network browser, if you will.

Why should anyone think that if modders have been doing this for years that some college kid wouldn't expand upon the idea for law enforcement purposes? Oh, I know, let's add a session record function! Wooptie-doo.

Now, instead of needing someone with half a brain or some knowledge of console hacking, all you need is a disc to browse the file structure. BFD.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
I believe there is a whole community of "Xbox modders" dedicated to turning their Xboxes into full-blown computers with a working version of either linux or windows OS.


Your belief is correct, but XDSL(xbox version of "d**n small linux") is barely usable given the hardware specs of the original xbox.

I've seen it in action and wasn't impressed, but I'm sure it was a fun project.
Kinda like getting the original version of doom to run on an iopd.

[edit on 1-5-2009 by 4N6310]



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:04 PM
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Wouldn't you just store data on an encyrpted hard drive?


Yea, but that's just where the police are going to be looking. In a raid, they take all your computers for forensic analysis. Do you think your encryption standard is unbeatable? DoD, NSA, all those standards are owned by the gov, they can crack em. So the idea is to hide your files someplace or on something the feds wont take. Like a game console, or a digital camera.

Once they take something, you never get it back, so even if they can't crack it (not likely), you're still deprived of it. If you use a traditional backup external drive, or a flash drive, they take those to. Hence, being slick and hiding your naughty files on an Xbox. At least I think that's the mentality behind it.

Personally i think the software is a waste of time, there's already a hundred tools that do basically the same thing, but governments love to spend money and this product fills a narrow niche in the forensics toolkit.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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Originally posted by AR154
Wouldn't you just store data on an encyrpted hard drive?


Not only that, but if you were a really crafty little hacker, you'd have a thermite scuttling mechanism for all of your drives containing particularly incriminating evidence like they do in the movies...ever see Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson?


If you're at that point, though, these kinds of things aren't even really discussed and you are most likely paranoid...and not to mention, a fire hazard.

I used to think it was actually impossible to recover files from a formatted hard drive until I needed to do it. Simple as running an application.
Now, a drive that's been melted by thermite, on the other hand...GFL(and I'm not talking about federations here).



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:24 PM
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I just have a difficult time believing that child pornographers would choose to go this route. I guess I can't really understand why they do anything though. This just has the feel of figuring out another way to invade peoples privacy under the guise of fighting child porn.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
I just have a difficult time believing that child pornographers would choose to go this route. I guess I can't really understand why they do anything though. This just has the feel of figuring out another way to invade peoples privacy under the guise of fighting child porn.


Yup, I agree.
I had intended to say something to the effect that this is just a warning shot across the bow of the xbox modding community to make them a notch more paranoid.
Used to be that all they had to worry about was getting banned from xbox live.
Now that you can install games directly to the HDD(legitimately), I'm guessing that the copy system's been cracked, so there are prolly lots of modded xbox360s with pirated games on the HDD. Each game, unless otherwise already owned by the user would be a count of copyright infringement.

I, for one, am glad they decided to allow games to be installed on the drive even though they don't all work as well as they would from the DVD. The main reason for this is because the DVD drive is so loud.
What modders want is the ability to not have to handle the DVD at all once the game is on the drive so the DVD essentially would be your backup copy of the game and would also be less likely to get damaged through handling.

Of course, microsoft tried to play dumb when consumers cried foul because of faulty hardware design resulting in overheating, malfunctioning and DVD scratching consoles and when some people try to come up with creative solutions, MS denies any fault and cites copyright laws while backhandedly revising the console design over time. If there wasn't anything wrong with it, why change the design? Admission of fault, much?

It all ties into corporations being given the same constitutional rights as an individual...only they are much more powerful and influential than most individuals, so they aren't held to the same level of accountability, but then we're straying into the early tech adoption vs wait for the bugs to get worked out discussion.

edit:
Here's another forum discussing the same topic, but you are now reading the xbox modding community's take on it:
xbox-scene forum
edit2: Oh, they can swear on that forum, so be warned.

[edit on 1-5-2009 by 4N6310]



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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What someone needs to do is police the chat that goes on in some of those games.

I have never come across so much racism from all races and countries in my life and I grew up in a small country town that was 100% white.

Sad thing is that most of it is coming from kids that might be in the teenager range.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 10:50 PM
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Why do they actually need the files? There is enough proof on the network if you download copyrighted material, or forbidden one. I think that statements like this are used to scare average user from downloading illegal stuff. If 90% of the people are good, they will let others get away with downloading copyrighted material, especially software.

As far as porn and credit card fraud, I hope they catch them all and put them to jail...and I know that it will not happen. They like to corrupt young minds with immoral content, they makes a mass number of zombies who they can later manipulate. So, porn is welcome in modern society. Credit card fraud? It helps them too - it makes you want to buy all the anti-virus and other "security" tools, to the point that every file on your computer is heavily controlled.

Brave new world. I can only imagine the future...

[edit on 1-5-2009 by greshnik]



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 11:27 PM
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The feds or police don't really go after copyright issues online, that's mostly the MPAA and RIAA. Once they get an IP of a "serial downloader" or "file sharer" they go after them in civil court. Far cry from criminal forensics, when the feds do get involved. For these cases they serve a search warrant and come into your home and take all your hardware, file disks, basically anything and everything.
For these types of cases they need the files directly off of a suspects hard drive, because that will become evidence in a court of law. They can't use copies of the files either, it has to be the original files, with a clear chain of custody from the moment they seized the files/drives from the suspect. Break the chain of custody and a defense lawyer can motion to have such evidence thrown out.
Most hackers try to get cute and encrypt their files or place them in "hidden" folders on their drives, but the set of forensic tools available to law enforcement make it a simple task to recover them. Hiding your files on an xbox might work, if the cops serving the warrants fail to recognize the game console as a storage medium, and thus fail to confiscate it. I suspect the application in the OP is designed to make it easier for police to search and find such files on an xbox drive.
My only concern, regarding xboxes or game networks in general, is can any agency (NSA, police, feds, et al) search your drives when you connect to the game network. That's why it's important to support EPIC and other privacy advocates, to watchdog the government and corporations to prevent them from doing shady spying like that.
Remember the Sony fiasco? Copyright protection taken to far that made your home console open to outside intrusion and spying.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 11:40 PM
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Not only that, but if you were a really crafty little hacker, you'd have a thermite scuttling mechanism for all of your drives containing particularly incriminating evidence like they do in the movies...ever see Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson?


There is such a device, in Russia it's known as a RASKAT, a miniture EMP device that fries a disk drive.

See Device remotely destroys hard drive data

Also see Dimtry Golubov - politician or cyber-criminal?, about his use of a raskat to destroy his drive when the feds came-a-knockin.



posted on May, 1 2009 @ 11:58 PM
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From the rascat article Blackmarketeer linked:

"Regarding information from the hard drive -- it was not me who destroyed it. But it was employee of task force who conducted a search," Golubov wrote to Security Fix. "This officer has found Raskat system remote control. He decided that it is remote from my car alarm and started to push on it in order to find which one of parked nearby car it was. I have no car and it was remote from the system Raskat, and I have clearly said this to him, but he has not listened to me, and told me to be silent. And he pushed this button several time. It can be possible he has erased all information on purpose, in order to say that all evidences are all wiped off, or more likely due to stupidity."




Imagine if that remote was hooked up to this:
Thermite drive et al destroyer.

Funny stuff, but way OT, so sorry 'bout that.




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