back to article He's a p0wnball Wizard, and he's twisted one Ubuntu-powered game

Security pro Mark Lachniet has stamped himself as a p0wnball wizard by cracking a commercial pinball machine. Lachniet, who goes by the handle “Bede”, was able to crack a pinball titled The Hobbit. Detailed here, the hack saw Bede find his way inside the Jersey Jack production. Inside he found a Celeron-powered PC running …

  1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    No more naked pinball for me. :-)

    (What with complaints from the darts team as well - I don't want to be the target of their animus.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope someone is going to notify carers of deaf dumb and blind kids to the dangers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its no joke AC. Braille is where the crims are going go when Tor is cracked.

      As a blind, deaf and dumb person myself the stuff ive smelt online via the huffternet using my Oculus Snift is getting disturbing.

      Especially with Facebooks new anti-adblocker blocker my new anti-adblock blocker blocker is failing.

      I often find myself asking whether blocker blocking blockers can be blocked by further blockers and whether the blocker blocking blocker block will result in blocking my access to the internet due to lack of CPU resources.

      Question is if I reserve a block of resources for my blocker blocking blocker will my blocker blocking blocker still block their blocker blocking blocker?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Attack The Block though bruv . innit. safe.

        ya get me?

        1. Anonymous Coward
  3. DrXym

    I can't see much scope for exploits

    I assume the coin box is locked and emptied by the premises. Any technician who turned up to service the machine wouldn't have much opportunity to steal cash or undercount the number of credits.

    I suppose if the machine happened to be placed exactly where you wanted to spy on someone / something or if the machine paid out tokens / tickets in some kind of Dave & Busters place. Otherwise I don't see much reason for hacking except curiosity. I doubt video arcade games / pinball machines employ much more protection than a locked hatch and a service code to gain access to them.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: I can't see much scope for exploits

      Dave & Busters doesn't even use tokens anymore unless it's by design (like those "over the ledge" ones). Everything (even the part where you get ten tokens for those machines) is done by prepaid cards.

      1. DrXym

        Re: I can't see much scope for exploits

        Dave and Busters still uses tokens, but they're issued digitally - you swipe a card and the card account credited for anything you win. And lots of other places still spew out paper tickets.

        So a hacked machine could payout a jackpot more than it should, or otherwise distort the outcome, e.g. award free games. Not sure it matters with a pinball machine though since it probably wouldn't payout and anyone motivated to hack a machine simply to get free games isn't really thinking things through.

        1. Charles 9

          Re: I can't see much scope for exploits

          That's the thing. Most of the machines that use tokens are at least partially mechanical and count the coins in the standard way by magnetic flux detection. The card readers are separate devices and tend to have anti-tampering safeguards in them. And as you said, the machine in question is a pinball machine which is played strictly for leisure: these don't award tickets.

          Come to think of it, I don't think there IS a pinball machine at my local D&B, anyway.

    2. Mark 85

      Re: I can't see much scope for exploits

      I suspect the kiddie hackers will hack it just to raise their scores. Much like they do in the online world of gaming. Don't have to really play to be a "winner".. just scam up a high score.

  4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Bede thinks his efforts have great possibilities for creating a worldwide registry of pinball scores, remote management or real-time tournaments.

    maybe he should knock up a GUI and sell it to the pinball manufacturers then!

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    Author tried hard

    But I still don't understand why I would care in the slightest. I'm sure someone will find use for this article.

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