Nintendo Responds to New Wii U Console Hack

Eurogamer reports that the group responsible for the first Wii mod chip has finally hacked the Wii U so that owners can play copied games. The group said on May 1 that it has reversed the process of authenticating the Wii U drive, disk encryption, file system, and everything else needed for a next generation key called WiiKey U.

According to the team, WiiKey U is billed as the first and only optical drive emulator that allows the console owner to play all Wii U games from any USB media, and is compatible with all Wii U models from all regions. It features multi-language support, an embedded Linux system, a high-speed USB 2.0 interface, a recovery mode and more.

"This looks like a variation on the optical drive emulators that appeared first on Xbox 360 - where the drive firmware was easily decrypted - and then latterly on PS3, which was much more of an effort to reverse-engineer," said Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter.

Leadbetter pointed out that Nintendo should be highly concerned that the comms traffic between the Wii U and the drive has been hacked so quickly. "In theory, the firmware on the drive can be rewritten with a new, secured version via a Wii U system update and thus nullify the device, but the question is how the WiiKey team reverse-engineered the system in the first place," he added.

Unless Nintendo finds out what the WiiKey group used as an exploit, additional hackers could issue a system update for their own hardware and "piracy will continue with barely a pause" as described by Leadbetter.

After reports of the WiiKey U surfaced, Nintendo acknowledged the group's Wii U hack but said the system that blocks pirated games in the Wii U console currently remains secure.

"Nintendo is aware that a hacking group claims to have compromised Wii U security," a spokesperson told Eurogamer. "However, we have no reports of illegal Wii U games nor unauthorized applications playable on the system while in Wii U mode. Nintendo continuously monitors all threats to its products' security and will use technology and will take the necessary legal steps to prevent the facilitation of piracy."

Naturally the WiiKey U group responded to Nintendo's statement… with a few lines of code:

57 55 50 2D 50 2D 41 52 50 50 2D 30 30 2D 31 30
31 45 55 52 2D 32 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.