I Brick Your Chip

Driver Update Disables Counterfeit Chips

by Jim Turley

It sounds like something out of a spy thriller. A piece of security software, masquerading as a routine driver update, sniffs out enemy chips and terminates them with extreme prejudice. There is no fix; the chip, and everything it’s connected to, is bricked.

Sneaky, huh? And not really all that hard to implement. With nearly everything connected “to the cloud,” it’s easy to insert new software remotely. And we’re all accustomed to downloading and installing new drivers every few weeks, so there’s nothing suspicious that would tip anyone off.

Except…

The case this week involves FTDI, a company that makes popular and inexpensive USB-interface chips. You’ve probably got one inside some device nearby, or you’ve used FTDI chips in your own designs.  Read More


Industry News

October 30, 2014

Over 300 engineers in 43 countries discovered how to generate an executable quote online in just minutes

Artesyn SharpMedia 2U Platform Enables Higher Density Voice and Video Services

Zuken Launches E³.HarnessAnalyzer and Acquires Software IP to Enhance Automotive Solutions

Best-in-Class Metrology Platform Cuts Design Time for Utilities Worldwide

Silicon-Proven, Reprogrammable NVM IP Delivers Smallest Area for Calibration and Trimming Applications

EV Group Next-Gen Nanoimprint Lithography Technology Targets Photonics, LED And Bioengineered Device Production

ARIA™, the First Accurate & Affordable Home Radon & Indoor Pollution Monitor, Alerts Homeowners to Cancer-Causing Gas in Real Time

October 29, 2014

Synopsys IC Compiler II Delivers Five Fold Implementation Speed up, Enables Silicon Success

Microchip Announces a New Family of 1.8V Low-Power 16-Mbit Serial Quad I/O™ SuperFlash® Memory Devices

Xilinx Demonstrates All Programmable Embedded Solutions for Machine Vision Applications at Vision Stuttgart 2014

Synopsys' New DesignWare Sensor and Control IP Subsystem Delivers Ultra Low Power Sensor and Control Processing for SoCs

3.5A IOUT, 2.2MHz Synchronous Step-Down DC/DC Converter Delivers 96% Efficiency, IQ=2.5µA & Operates from 3.0V to 42V Input

October 28, 2014

Synopsys' New USB 3.1 IP Solution Enables 10 Gbps Data Transfer Speeds for Storage, Digital Office and Mobile Applications

600W – 250V RF Transistors from STMicroelectronics Leverage Latest High-Voltage Technology for Smaller, More Reliable Class-E Power

TSMC, Kilopass Deliver NVM OTP IP for the 16FinFET Process Node

RTOS Express Logic ThreadX® RTOS Supports Microchip’s MPLAB® Harmony Framework

Mentor Graphics Announces Xpedition System Designer for Comprehensive Multi-board Systems Development

PMBus Digital Power System Manager Monitors Board Energy Consumption

Imec, Coventor partner to drive advanced CMOS process development through virtual fabrication

Cadence Announces Industry's First 25G Ethernet Verification IP

October 27, 2014

New eXtremeDB Embedded Database Version 6.0 Boosts Scalability, Speed With Distributed Query Processing

Silicon Labs Launches Sixth Generation of Industry-Leading Silicon TV Tuners

Synopsys and Gowin Semiconductor Ink Multi-Year OEM Agreement for FPGA Design Software

Microchip’s First Mobile App Developer Specialist Provides Easy Internet of Things App Creation for Embedded Designers

SK Hynix Accelerates Memory Development with Productivity-Enhancing Debug Apps on Synopsys Verdi

2A Synchronous Step-Down DC/DC Converter Delivers 93% Efficiency at 2MHz and Operates from 3.0V to 42V Inputs

Cadence Announces Virtuoso Liberate AMS, Industry’s First Dynamic Simulation Characterization Solution for Mixed-Signal Designs

October 24, 2014

eSilicon simplifies the online customer experience

News Archive

Sights on Systems

Mentor Elevates PCB Game

by Kevin Morris

Constraining Light

Or, How the Heck Do I Design a Photonic Circuit?

by Bryon Moyer

First Responder Robots and Virtual Prototypes

Carbon’s New Virtual Prototype Portal and UDG’s New Smart Robot

by Amelia Dalton

Let’s Get This Party Kickstarted

Is Crowdfunding a Good Option For Your Million-Dollar Idea?

by Larra Morris

Articles Archive

 

EEJournal On The Scene Video News
 Hosted by Amelia Dalton

editors' blog

If This Is a Conference, then It Must Be November

posted by Bryon Moyer

A quick look at some of the events I’ll be attending over the next few weeks. (24-Oct)

Elliptic Labs’ 3rd Gesture Dimension

posted by Bryon Moyer

Elliptic Labs has added depth as a semantic element to their ultrasound gesture system. (23-Oct)

What Does ConnectOne’s “G2” Mean?

posted by Bryon Moyer

ConnectOne has release a new family of WiFi modules. We sort out what’s changed. (21-Oct)

IPSO Alliance Provides IoT Objects

posted by Bryon Moyer

If Things are going to talk to each other, they need to speak the same language. There are numerous efforts underway to help with that; the IPSO Alliance has announced their contribution. (16-Oct)

Editors' Blog Archive

 

forum

I Brick Your Chip

Posted on 10/30/14 at 6:24 PM by Lord Loh.

Lord Loh.
What is a counterfeit FTDI chip? USB to serial chips are generic. So are these chips that have their VID set to FTDI? And what exactly was being counterfeit? Was it just malefic labelling a generic USB to serial devices as FTDI and using their VID?

If …

Let’s Get This Party Kickstarted

Posted on 10/30/14 at 3:23 PM by bmoyer

bmoyer
I saw a presentation today at the Touch Gesture Motion conference by a company called Tactonics where the speaker asserted that most crowdfunding efforts aren't in fact about raising funds - they could get the funds in other ways.

Instead, they're simp…

I Brick Your Chip

Posted on 10/30/14 at 3:17 PM by Jim Turley

Jim Turley
> I just hope they made sure that the end users knew what went wrong.

Okay, but *how* will end users know what went wrong?

For example, my wife's FitBit stopped working a few weeks ago. Was it because of a counterfeit USB chip, or was it just a coi…

I Brick Your Chip

Posted on 10/30/14 at 1:36 AM by Noam

Well done FTDI. I just hope they made sure that the end users knew what went wrong.

End users who bought a device claimed to be legitimate, should ask/sue the seller for a replacement or money-back since the end product is faulty.
The seller should al…

I Brick Your Chip

Posted on 10/29/14 at 11:10 AM by dougwithau

I also feel FTDI did no wrong here.
Really they were lucky they could tell the difference between their chip and the counterfeits, and could disable them.
Far worse are counterfeits that identify themselves as larger or better memories, but really are …

I Brick Your Chip

Posted on 10/29/14 at 10:47 AM by TotallyLost

TotallyLost
As long as things continue to work, then people can sell counterfits and make a huge profit, as long as they continue to work.

I think FTDI did the right thing ... I think every vendor that has that ability should do it.

There is NOTHING better to s…

Sights on Systems

Posted on 10/28/14 at 1:15 PM by kevin

kevin
What does your team use to coordinate multi-board system designs? How do you make sure that changes to one board are propagated correctly to other affected boards? How do you partition your system into multiple boards in the first place?

Constraining Light

Posted on 10/27/14 at 10:23 AM by bmoyer

bmoyer
Are you designing parts of a photonic chip? What do you think about the state of design tools?

Let’s Get This Party Kickstarted

Posted on 10/24/14 at 12:25 PM by kevin

kevin
I've also heard of cases where being over-funded turned out to be a curse. The project team under-estimated the cost of their widget, and ended up having a slight loss on each of their units for their Kickstarter supporters.

Since they got dramatically…

Forum Archive

subscribe to our weekly newsletters

twitter.png   rss.png    googleplus.png    linkedin.png    youtube.png    facebook.png



On Demand Archive

 Watch Chalk Talks
 On our New EE Journal YouTube Channel
 Hosted by Amelia Dalton

chalk talks

How to Design a Sigma Delta Mixer Circuit

In parts 1 & 2 of this 3-part Chalk Talk series, we talked about how Triad Semiconductor can save you 75%, or even as much as 99% in your next mixed-signal ASIC design. But, what good is savings if you don't know what you can design with it? In this third episode of our 3-part Chalk Talk series, Amelia and Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor have fun taking ViaDesigner out for a spin - designing a sigma delta mixer.

Spartan-6 FPGAs in Video Designs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD, Amelia chats with Tom Hill and Maureen Smerdon of Xilinx about how Spartan-6 FPGAs can accelerate your next video design, and how adding embedded vision to those designs is getting easier and easier.

Hardware/Software Co-Verification of ARM Processor-Based Designs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Lauro Rizzatti of EvE about the latest in emulation technology and explains how you can use emulation to dramatically accelerate software development, which is becoming the most time-consuming part of SoC design.

Routing Interfaces Quickly & Efficiently on PCBs

In today's PCB designs, interfaces such as DDR pose major challenges for layout. Issues like timing and signal integrity can be tricky for even the most experienced designer. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems about routing those tricky bits using a combination of automatic and manual routing techniques.

Cadence Tempus Timing Signoff Solution

Achieving timing closure for signoff can be a daunting challenge in today's complex designs. Meeting timing under all conditions - with the certainty required for signoff - is a complex and demanding task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Ruben Molina of Cadence Design Systems about the special challenges of signoff timing closure, and Cadence's new Tempus timing analysis tool.

Why Do I Need a Customizable ARM-based SoC?

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Todd Koelling of Altera about what’s inside these new SoC FPGAs and how you can get started designing with them.

FPGA Prototyping with the Kintex-7 KC705 Evaluation Kit

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Evan Leal of Xilinx about their new Kintex-7 KC705 Evaluation Kit, all the cool stuff that’s included and how we can use it to speed up our FPGA Prototyping.

Chalk Talk Archive


Login Required

In order to view this resource, you must log in to our site. Please sign in now.

If you don't already have an acount with us, registering is free and quick. Register now.

Sign In    Register