FTDI admits to bricking innocent users' chips in silent update | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

FTDI admits to bricking innocent users' chips in silent update

Hardware hackers and security researchers are furious at chip maker FTDI for issuing a silent update that bricks cloned FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chips.

The chip is extremely common on a wide variety of devices and there is no way of knowing at this time which devices have cloned chips -- and the tainted supply chain could hit anyone.

FTDI appears to have used a recent Windows update to deliver the driver update to brick all cloned FTDI FT232s.

FTDI's surprise new driver reprograms the USB PID to 0, killing the chips instantly.

The hardware hackers at Hack A Day first reported that a recent driver update deployed over Windows Update is bricking cloned versions of the very common FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chip.

In response to increasing anger and criticism from security researchers on Twitter, FTDI admitted using the remote kill switch and is adamant that this move is necessary to fight counterfeiting.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Oh yes, let's punish the end user who may not even know his product has a counterfeit chip by killing his hardware!

Does FTDI not understand that the counterfeiters will go on selling their chips anyway not caring if they eventually fail? Look at the flood of fake 128G SD cards hitting the market. These are actually 8G chips reprogrammed to identify themselves as 128G to the computer. Every time a particular brand is identified as phony, the counterfeiters simply change their company name, change the packaging, and go right on selling their products, not caring that they will not actually work. FTDI's stunt will harm a lot of innocent end users and will not stop the counterfeiters. It won't even slow them down. Someone needs to be fired for this mistake!

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