Group resumes Xbox cracking project

Thursday, 13 March 2003, 8:42 AM EST

The Neo Project, a group that uses distributed computing techniques to crack security challenges, on Wednesday began offering software for its "Operation Project X."

Distributed computing, best known by the Seti@Home project searching for signs of extraterrestrial life, divvies up complex computing tasks among myriad computers. The Neo Project software will use thousands of PCs to try to guess the 2,048-bit encryption code used by the Xbox, an approach that could take years to yield results.

A cracked encryption code could allow hackers to run homemade Linux software on an unmodified Xbox, satisfying a $100,000 Xbox hacking challenge by Michael Robertson, chief executive of Linux software company Lindows.

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