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High Definition TiVo Bash Software Hack Claimed 154

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the shell-shocked dept.
crazyray writes "Fresh on the heels of Sunday's Washington Post's article about TiVo and the broadcast flag, a group calling themselves the 'HD TeAm' is claiming to have discovered a software-only exploit to enable bash on the new $1000 High Definition DirecTiVo. Prior to this announcement, it was thought that this was only possible by desoldering and reflashing the PROM. Perhaps most interestingly, 'HD TeAm' is offering to release the code to the world if enough donations are given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
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High Definition TiVo Bash Software Hack Claimed

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  • Smart plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irving47 (73147) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:59PM (#9863453) Homepage
    Maybe that's a good way of doing it. Make sure you don't have any money to be sued for by the MPAA, but have money going to someone who might arrange your legal defense.

    • Re:Smart plan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#9863481) Homepage
      The conglomorates haven't exactly cared whether you have money or not. If we all had enough money to support an effective legal defense against the monopolies or enough power to end their money-backed lawmaking schemes we wouldn't be trying grassroots campaigns to end their stranglehold.

      Now would we?
    • Re:Smart plan (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      what does it mater, I'm betting they will release the code in an anonomous way so the corperate Gestapo cant target anyone. And be on the lookout that this will be the way code will be released in the future. it's nice to get credit, but screw it I'll attach nothing of me to code that helps humankind take back their rights.

      I hope they are smart enough to not leave any traces of their identity in it so they cant get harassed like the DECSS debacle.
      • I can hear it now... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ControlFreal (661231) *

        (Tell-Sell mode)

        The latest TiVo hack... Soon coming to a Freenet [freenetproject.org] or MUTE [sourceforge.net] node near you... It's amazing!

        (/Tell-Sell mode)

        A little later, it'll be all over the general file-sharing networks, without ever having left a trace to its origin. At that stage, the cat is irrevocably out of the bag.

        The point you raise is interesting: it doesn't matter that anonymous networks like Freenet or MUTE are not currently used by a lot of users; they _are_ used by ~1000-~10000 users. When more than a view of those sta

      • Heh.

        You assume that there's "code".

        Have you read anything at DealDatabase? The "developers" there are mostly people who hack together a collection of real work done by other people. I bet this hack is some one-liner exploit that gets just enough data past the Tivo boot-time checks to make one of the existing hacks feasible. Those existing hacks are mainly pasted together work from people you've all heard of like Andrew Tridgell and Donald Becker that was done and dumped after they had what they wanted, or
    • btw, anyone interested in my gameboy SP software exploit, which makes you able to run Dreamcast games on it : Also, it will be able to make direct calls to the red-phone in the White House ; and be able to toast a cheese sandwhich... without putting anything in it !

      I will only release this is proper donations are met : I might even include the laser-rays too.

  • by zoloto (586738) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#9863470)
    ...on PROM night!

    and reflashing the PROM

    well I have to say that brings back fond memories of prom night. ... oh wait, this is about a PROM?? uhhh... nothing to see here, move along!
    • You went to the prom??? What are you doing reading Slashdot?

      • You went to the prom??? What are you doing reading Slashdot?

        I'm pretty miffed, too, because I didn't get my robotic girlfriend built in time for prom night.

    • I didn't even get my dress off on prom night, I had to peel it off 18 hours later when I woke up underneath a volkswagon jetta that somehow made it into my garage. And there were opened boxes from undercarriage lighting kits... I felt so... dirty.
    • You forget, this is slashdot; we didn't go to prom night, and if we did goto prom, we looked like bad geeks and no girls would dance with us out of fear of social rejectition.

      But now, those same cheerleaders will come to us BEGGING for us to change their proms around so they work. Reality is really strange.
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#9863476)
    Today the US Senate announced pending legislation designed to curb the growing problem of Tivo hacking. The House is expected to take up a similar bill next week.

    Senator Orrin Hatch, chief sponsor of the bill, was quoted as saying "This issue is of extreme importance to the future of America. What kind of message would we be sending to our children if we allowed this kind of wanton hacking activity to go on unchecked? I ask all politicians who value protecting our intellectual property laws to join me in support of this legislation."
    • He has also opened a Paypal account to accept donations to help fund the mounting legal costs in persecuting attempts at allowing that evil Communist "freedom of information" idea that has been infiltrating our great fascist state.

      Yes, this is the proper usage of Fascist. We are allowing our country to be opened to the control of the corporations.
      • by mi (197448)
        Yes, this is the proper usage of Fascist.

        Nope, it is not. Godwin's Law applies. Second time in one thread. Remember to logout, loser.

        We are allowing our country to be opened to the control of the corporations.

        Until we (US) start claiming racial superiority and burning racially inferior peoples in furnaces, all the talk of our alleged "Fascism" is complete nonsense.

        • by Merk (25521) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:55AM (#9869215) Homepage

          You know, I have mod points, and could just mod you down, but I thought I'd reply instead.

          Godwin's Law isn't a rule about winning or losing arguments. It's a law of nature. It's like gravity. If a thread goes on for long enough, someone will mention Nazis or Hitler. But notice, I'm the first one in this thread to do so. Fascism is bigger than just Nazis. The Italian government under Mussolini was fascist as well.

          Before you say that fascism requires burning racially inferior people in furnaces, you might want to at least read the definition [cambridge.org]:

          a political system based on a very powerful leader, state control and extreme pride in country and race, and in which political opposition is not allowed

          Let's compare that to the current state of affairs in the US of A:

          • a very powerful leader -- I think unilaterally declaring US citizens to be enemy combattants qualifies here
          • extreme pride in country and race -- substitute religion for race, and this clearly describes a lot of Bush's supporters
          • political opposition is not allowed -- well they haven't won this battle yet, but remember many people argued that protesting the war was unamerican, remember how the republicans tried to shut down Farenheit 911, notice the tiny, dangerous, hidden "Free Speech Zone" at the democratic convention

          There's no question, we're a long way from Italy or Germany in the '30s. At the same time, there's a continuum between an open society and a fascist one. The US is much closer to the fascist side of that spectrum than any other western (or modern eastern) country. Sure, Cuba is worse, and so is North Korea, but when those are the only countries that are more fascist than you... it's a pretty bad sign.

          • You know, I have mod points, and could just mod you down, but I thought I'd reply instead.

            Awfully decent of you. If only you had the decency to not mention this fact...

            but when those are the only countries that are more fascist than you... it's a pretty bad sign.

            Right here is the flaw in your and Garcia's arguments. As per your definitions and explanations, there is nothing automaticly "pretty bad" about Fascism -- not without burning the inferior races in furnaces.

            Yours, Garcia's (although he may d

            • True enough, Fascism is not automatically bad. Just like National Socialism is not automatically bad. Even Anarchy is not automatically bad. But history has shown that whatever their abstract flaws or benefits, in practice, they seem to be bad both for their neighbors and for the citizens.

              I didn't claim that the USA is "Fascist", but I said it was farther along the continuum between Fascism and an open, free society than most other countries in the world. While it is true that the Supreme Court has

              • What you're saying is the equivalent of saying there's nothing wrong with cocking a gun and pointing it at somebody's head. It's only pulling the trigger that's bad.

                No, what I'm saying is that there nothing wrong with being made of steel, even if that makes a metal shovel "closer" to a people-killing gun, than a plastic or a (dure-)aluminum shovel is.

      • Yes, this is the proper usage of Fascist. We are allowing our country to be opened to the control of the corporations.

        Corporate control is a bad thing, but you should look up *fascism*. I believe that what you are referring to is more of a plutocracy since it's really control by corporate top management.

    • "This issue is of extreme importance to the future of America. What kind of message would we be sending to our children if we allowed this kind of

      wanton hacking activity to go on unchecked? I ask all politicians who value protecting our intellectual property laws to join me in support of this legislation." - italics added for emphasis

      wanton - Audio pronunciation of "wanton" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (wntn) adj.

      1. Gratuitously cruel; merciless.
      2. Marked by unprovoked, gratuitous

      • OK, I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but how does this type of activity merit the use of the word wanton.


        Well, if it's Senator Hatch trying to sell it to a clueless public and his even more clueless coleages, it's the perfect work. Oh, and I'm pretty sure he never actually said that. Calm down, it was satire.
      • Didn't you read the definition you pasted? 5. Frolicsome, playful. Wanton is also defined on occasion as "with abandon", which is the sense in which I most commonly see it (in pornography) :)
  • Blackmail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SilentChris (452960)
    "is offering to release the code to the world if enough donations are given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation"

    Uh, why? Just release the code.
    • Re:Blackmail? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jaaron (551839) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:15PM (#9863555) Homepage
      Apparently a contest was made available first before a software exploit could be found. The HD TeAM group just happens to be the first to claim success. If their post [dealdatabase.com]:

      "HD TeAm has a solution prepared and authorizes it's distribution via ddb once $1,000 has been collected. We request that all proceeds be donated to the EFF so that research of this nature remains legal in the future."

      "It is our position that if the community, particularly the minority with the disposable income for hd-units, is unwilling to come together & donate this token sum to a worthy organization the hack is probably better kept private"
    • Re:Blackmail? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MooseGuy529 (578473) <i58ht6b02@@@sneakemail...com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:04PM (#9864055) Homepage Journal

      Why? This should be obvious.

      The music, movie, and TV industries in the U.S. still haven't opened up to the idea of sharing things. It was one thing back when TV was analog, and music was on tapes (yeah, they complained back then, but it *was* less of a problem), but now they're scared shitless because they're broadcasting a digital stream, and, although it is compressed, any duplication, recording, or sharing of it would be at exactly the same quality.

      So, they try to manipulate laws (DMCA, Broadcast Flag, etc...) their way so that nobody can copy their stuff illegally or legally. The end result is that we need organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation to stand up to them and preserve our rights to use media legally.

      A lot of these laws fall into a category which I particularly find disturbing: laws that cure the symptom instead of the disease. Instead of just cracking down on true copyright violation (large groups of people selling pirated movies and such, not some guy who copies a few movies for a friend), they crack down on ways to violate copyrights, or they crack down on ways to create ways to violate copyrights, or they crack down on uses of copyrighted material more broad than what is truly illegal, or they crack down on anything that could eventually lead to copyright infringement.

      Now, for some analogies. (I warned you, so don't complain they suck!) People are allowed to have knives, for normal uses such as chopping vegetables. Knives, however, can also be used for violence. If knives were regulated the same way copyright law is looking, we wouldn't be able to have knives because they *could* be used to hurt people. Furthermore, most recipies involving chopping would be illegal, due to the fact that they could induce someone to create a knife for that purpose.

      But look at it another way: guns--something whose purpose is solely violence--are regulated. Think about DeCSS--it is used only to decode DVD data to view it; pirates don't even need to decode DVD data to make pirated discs. If the movie industry wanted to crack down on something, it should have been DVD burners (yeah, I know, they shouldn't be regulated either... maybe they should have required a special code on consumer discs, so players won't play DeCSS-encrypted discs [presumably a copyrighted movie] when they are on a consumer disc [presumably because it is a pirated copy]), not DeCSS. That's like cracking down on knives, because they can be used to hurt people, even though they have plenty of harmless uses, while leaving guns unregulated.

      Okay, shred apart my analogies. Have fun. But that is the reason we need the EFF--to protect us from corporations that would otherwise crack down on lawful acts.

      So why not just release it? As the thread says, the people who have enough money to buy an HD TiVo certainly have enough money to contribute to the EFF, and their very use of the TiVo is an act protected by the EFF. Asking for donations to a good group in exchange for a donation is perfectly valid. If you don't like it, don't give money... someone else will... or maybe not, and we'll never see the code...

      • But look at it another way: guns--something whose purpose is solely violence--are regulated.

        It's probably not a good idea to use a more contentious issue as your metaphor. You tend to lose people who are otherwise sympathetic to your argument. Care to explain it to me in abortion terms?

        Larger point taken, however.

    • This is the opposite of blackmail, smartguy.
  • by dgrgich (179442) * <drew@nOsPaM.grgich.org> on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#9863482) Homepage
    I remember a while back the gang of folks threatening to release hacks for the Xbox unless MS paid up - don't remember hearing what happened there. This seems to be similar but completely different - :)

    I have to say that I'm against anything that might harm Tivo as a company; I'm a rabid fan who sees signs on the wall that Tivo may be in trouble within the next few years as the cable companies produce low-grade DVRs that do not give the database-powered juicy goodness that Tivo provides.

    Just my two cents.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:13PM (#9863547)
      They were threatening to release the software hack unless MS were to allow a signed version of Linux to be released on the XBox. Of course MS didn't, and the hack (which allowed the user to load an unsigned linux loader without a hardware mod) was released.

      Later that hack was modified by other people to run *any* unsigned executable on the XBox. It was this very possibility that the original hacker wanted MS to avoid by allowing a signed Linux loader.
    • ,i>I have to say that I'm against anything that might harm Tivo as a company; I'm a rabid fan who sees signs on the wall that Tivo may be in trouble within the next few years as the cable companies produce low-grade DVRs that do not give the database-powered juicy goodness that Tivo provides.

      too late. WE've had them here in comcast that also record HD for over a year now. an additional $5.00 a month and you get a HD PVR that can never break because you dont own it, something that Tivo cant offer.. .as
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@@@devinmoore...com> on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:03PM (#9863485) Homepage Journal
    Let me be one of the first (today) to say that software-only hacks rule! There are a lot more people that can use that type of hack, then there are that would open the box and do stuff in order to get BASH, or what have you, to work. Having witnessed hardware xBox/TiVo hacks myself, I can attest that if you don't have nerves of steel, you could bump that soldering iron into something important.. and whoops! There goes the system.
  • Still waiting for my bash shell.
  • OK, dumb question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GojiraDeMonstah (588432) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:09PM (#9863525) Homepage
    What would you be able to do with a TiVo hacked in this way that you can't do now? Hook it up to a different hard drive and store more shows?
  • by irving47 (73147) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:15PM (#9863554) Homepage
    In 2004, a crack hacker unit will be sent to prison by a civilian court, for crimes they just barely understood themselves. These hackers promptly escaped from the maximum security MPAA holding room to their mothers' basements. Today, still wanted by Jack Valenti, they survive as coders of fortune. If you have an encrypted video stream, nobody else will touch it, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the HD TeAm!
    click click click click...

  • Perhaps most interestingly, 'HD TeAm' is offering to release the code to the world if enough donations are given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Why are they waiting for the EFF to get more donations in order to show the code to the world? Please go easy on me.

    • An idea from the Devil's Advocate side of the world: perhaps they don't *actually* have the code and are just trying to drum up donations using a hoax of sorts.

      You'd be just as wise to put your money down on a "pre-release" copy of Duke Nuke'em Forever without doing more homework. ;)
      • Doubtful ... no incentive except for stupid kicks.

        Seriously, they're not the ones getting the moolah, the EFF is. Therefore they obviously want the EFF to do well.

        Move to your theory ... sure, the EFF gets $1000 ... but hereafter no one will ever participate in such a fund raiser since the first one was a burn. Which means in the end the EFF probably suffers more damage than good.

        Unless this were perpetrated by people who -want- to hurt the EFF or the TiVo community, there is just no reason for them to b
    • There was a contest: The contest organizers would collect a bounty from folks. If some group met the challenge (bash shell in Tivo) before the deadline, then they would get the collected money.

      There is a group now that claims to have a working solution to the challenge, but they are saying they will not release it until the collected bounty is at least $1000 and with a promise that the contest organizers will not send it to the winners, but to the EFF instead.
  • by rdewalt (13105) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:28PM (#9863614) Homepage
    "... Perhaps most interestingly, 'HD TeAm' is offering to release the code to the world if enough donations are given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

    In other words, "We'd like our defense fund paid in advance before we release That-Which-Will-Get-Us-Sued-Out-Of-Our-Lives.
  • by gmhowell (26755)
    Great. Now the EFF is going to be linked to the terrorists and get a visit from Ashcroft and the gang.
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:32PM (#9863631) Homepage
    Skipping commercials is nice, but I'd like a hack to allow a TiVo to record and show good programs. "I wish my television had a control to adjust the intelligence level. I tried the control marked 'brightness', but it didn't help at all."
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Skipping commercials is nice, but I'd like a hack to allow a TiVo to record and show good programs. "I wish my television had a control to adjust the intelligence level. I tried the control marked 'brightness', but it didn't help at all."


      I can't help much with the good program side, but there is a simple hack to keep it from recording bad programs. Just unplug it.

      We'll let you know when Ken is back on Jeopardy so you can plug it back in for 30 minutes a day.

      Problem solved.
    • TiVo is cool as hell, but it's not a miracle worker. First, the good programs have to be broadcast .
    • That's what Thumbs Up/Down is for, in conjunction with watching your viewing patterns. Never failed me yet! I have more stuff that I watch in the "Suggestions" box than programs I picked myself. Just brace yourself the day your SO finds "G String Divas" in the suggestions box :-).

    • First Gallagher [gallaghersmash.com] quote on slashdot in years, +5!
    • Ever notice how people claim they want intellectual shows, while in reality braindead shows (Babewatch, soaps, shoot-em-ups) do great? Calvin & Hobbes had a great strip on that, where Calvin is complaining about the state of TV, and his dad suggests reading a book or going out instead. Calvin (still watching TV) says "So I lied. Sue me."

      Of course, I only want intellectual shows ;)

      Kjella
  • I bet they hit that mark easily by tomorrow.

    "HD TeAm has a solution prepared and authorizes it's distribution via ddb once $1,000 has been collected. We request that all proceeds be donated to the EFF so that research of this nature remains legal in the future."

    "It is our position that if the community, particularly the minority with the disposable income for hd-units, is unwilling to come together & donate this token sum to a worthy organization the hack is probably better kept private"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    what is this bashing method? And why is there no mention of the preferred bat or sledgehammer to do so?

  • We don't need people associating the EFF with blackmail.

    I wish they wouldn't do this.

    • They will release the code if people donate to the EFF- that is, they will not release the code unless money has been given to an organization which is able to defend them in court when Tivo does what Tivo will.
  • ITS NOT BLACKMAIL (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:28PM (#9863880)
    They are asking for donations (to a non-profit organization!) and in return they will release a hack that THEY CREATED into the public domain.

    How is offering to release something that you created in exchange for donations, blackmail?

    If it is, then I guess every business that sells goods or services is guilty of blackmail too *roll eyes*
  • by nege (263655)
    Awww great. Now the EFF will be considered a terrorist organazation and threat to Our Way Of Life.

    (Hackers who support organazations who disaprove of Orwellian futures? They MUST be terrorists!)
  • extortion... but backwards.. weird
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else think it's weird that I can make a meaning out of that headline :p.

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