By hacking the firmware used by Xbox 360’s DVD drive, hackers have been able to circumnavigate copy protection, allowing their machines to run both imported, and more importantly, copied or third party software.
However, Microsoft’s new security measures can detect any modifications to a machine’s firmware. Once detected, the console is permanently prevented from accessing Xbox Live, meaning players are no longer able to play multiplayer games or download Marketplace content such as demos or software updates.
These measures differ from Microsoft’s past efforts with Xbox in that it is the actual hardware, rather than simply an Xbox Live account, that is prevented from accessing Live.
“These users will not have their account automatically banned from Live, but they will no longer be able to access the service from the console they modified," Microsoft stated.
“Microsoft has a no tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour like hacking or cheating. This topic is more important than ever given the recent release of the Halo 3 beta."
The original Xbox is a big favourite in the modding community, with hacks available that allow for the playing of emulation software, or even to transform the machines into fully functional media centres.