Mississauga man pleads guilty in international Xbox hacking ring | Toronto Star

Mississauga man pleads guilty in international Xbox hacking ring:

Prosecutors said the small group of gaming enthusiasts called itself the Xbox Underground.

“These were extremely sophisticated hackers. Don’t be fooled by their ages,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed McAndrew said after Tuesday’s court hearing. McAndrew told reporters the other members of the group looked to Pokora as a leader.

Chris Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and expert in Internet security, told the Star the technique used by the group, known as “SQL injection,” is one of the most common attacks used.

“I’m not saying that these individuals are more or less sophisticated, but you really do not have to be terribly clever to run SQL injections,” said Parsons, who has no involvement in the case.

The technique at its most simple involves tricking a database used by the organization into thinking that the hacker has the power to run administrator-level commands.

Parsons says the value of intellectual property and material like the group was after is difficult to gauge. He said they could sell it, or trade it online.

“Certainly some information would be more valuable than others. There might be a large variation for how much you might pay for a prototype Xbox One, versus information about how the U.S. military trains its apache helicopter pilots,” said Parsons. “It would vary substantially in terms of what the information is and the completeness of it.”

There’s no indication in the court documents that the group attempted to sell military information.



The Next Xbox Will Take Over Your TV


On the other hand:

Coupled with this TV functionality, Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect sensor will also play a role in the company’s TV focus. The Verge has learned that the next Kinect will detect multiple people simultaneously, including the ability to detect eye movement to pause content when a viewer turns their head away from a TV.

I really don’t understand this functionality. It sounds like a stupid novelty in the new Samsung Galaxy phone, and I think it’s worse here. Given how many people now “watch” TV with a second screen, is it going to pause every three seconds?

Words cannot express how pissed I would be if turning away from a TV meant that it paused what I was watching. I routinely walk away in dialogue heavy scenes to get a glass of water or whatever, and then return without having missed anything of substance. If I had to change a setting to enable this behaviour (i.e. what I’ve done my entire life) then I’d be annoyed as hell. I think this approach generally presumes that people should be actively just watching what’s on the screen and I really don’t know that many people who focus that hard on screen-based entertainment at home all that often.

Also: as cool as the Kinect is this is the kind of use case that bothers me about the technology more generally. Perpetually having an Internet-accessible series of cameras and microphones is one thing when I can control when they’re on or not: I don’t like the idea of them being ‘on’ when I’m not actively involved in a very specific operation that demands this kind of functionality. And, I mean, if Microsoft implements this there’s no way that advertisers or marketers aren’t going to want the data collected (in ‘aggregate and anonymous’, I’m sure) by the Kinect that’s watching and listening to everything you do within a 15ft radius of your TV.