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Author Topic: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.  (Read 38689 times)
K5TED
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« Reply #45 on: October 27, 2014, 06:04:11 PM »

No...  FTDI in fact goes far out of their way to NOT accept responsibility for intentionally bricking anything...  They guy wearing the shirt that says "I only give negative feedback" however says over and over they admitted it, when they did not...  

At the 14:36 mark on the video Mike from Mike's Electronics is responding to a message from FTDI that stated that the users should have read the Download agreement before running the driver.

Mike Responds:
Nobody Reads that stuff.  Ok not to work with fakes and show a message.  But breaking peoples stuff without warning is unacceptable.

FTDI Responds:
So are counterfeit IC's. They're destroying innovation in the industry. Please ensure Gen IC's before using FTDI Drivers.

Then we have this:
http://hackaday.com/2014/10/24/ftdi-screws-up-backs-down/

Someone has reversed engineered the driver code to show how it does a check then bricks the device if it fails.

Now I am no lawyer but that conversation seems to be a clear admission that they are "breaking peoples stuff" and any lawyer worth his salt would have experts show that the code does indeed do that.

Not to mention the fact that FTDI would have to explain why they had Twitter delete all of their early conversations on the subject.

Quote
The courts will sort this out, if FTDI actually admitted to intentionally bricking things, they will end in court and lose...  It will be interesting to see what happens...  

No as I said earlier I don't think FTDI could lose a court case because no one in their right mind is going to sue someone for destroying a counterfeit product.

Quote
My feelings on what will happen...

1.  FTDI wins no matter what happens...
     a.  A bunch of fake chips died.
     b.  A very pointed message got sent to vendors.
     c.  FTDI also sent the message they are not going to take counterfeiting anymore.
2.  No one will remember this in a year or so, and FTDI will be selling more chips than today.

All in all FTDI will probably not even get sued.  This was all clearly orchestrated by lawyers to cause as much of an issue as possible over counterfeit chips, while reducing the risk to FTDI as much as possible.

I don't have any love for the Chinese and their constant  theft of other peoples property, so I am a bit conflicted.  I think FTDI should have done what they are doing now instead of bricking peoples devices.

As for the future of FTDI, I would be a bit worried.  The Chinese seem to have a mentality that if you mess with them they will make you pay 10 fold as a warning to others.  I would not be surprised to see FTDI have numerous problems in the future.  After all we keep forgetting this is a communist country we are dealing with! They could simply dissuade any local factories from building product that use FTDI chips.  Since the Chinese make 90% of the electronic products in the world that would devastate FTDI

FTDI is intentionally allowing buyers of stolen intellectual property to choose the option of risking breakage of the stolen tech. It's optional. No forced update. EULA is concise. Users are cheapskate buyers of stolen property.
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #46 on: October 27, 2014, 06:05:14 PM »

Don't buy cheap ripoffs of FTDI from the Chinese. If you do, you deserve the brick.

A 'clone' is not a 'competitor'. It is theft. You bought stolen tech. Why did you update the driver? Was it not working properly? Maybe that's because it is stolen tech.

You buy cheap ebay USB to Serial devices that point you to the seller website for drivers, you are probably buying stolen tech.

Stop whining and pony up for real tech, or buy another $9.95 free shipping from Hong Kong device and move on.

BTW, Widcomm and CSR have been denying driver updates for stolen tech bluetooth devices for years.

The problem is that the consumer has no idea what is in the device.  
Denying updates is fine, but destroying them really only hurts the consumer.  The company that sold it already has your cash and has most likely moved on to a new product .
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #47 on: October 27, 2014, 06:07:40 PM »

FTDI is intentionally allowing buyers of stolen intellectual property to choose the option of risking breakage of the stolen tech. It's optional. No forced update. EULA is concise. Users are cheapskate buyers of stolen property.

The problem is who reads the EULA?

My God I am starting to sound like a Chinese defender. Cry Cry  I am outta here Grin
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“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
K5TED
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« Reply #48 on: October 27, 2014, 06:22:46 PM »

FTDI is intentionally allowing buyers of stolen intellectual property to choose the option of risking breakage of the stolen tech. It's optional. No forced update. EULA is concise. Users are cheapskate buyers of stolen property.

The problem is who reads the EULA?

My God I am starting to sound like a Chinese defender. Cry Cry  I am outta here Grin

The EULA is the legal instrument that protects FTDI from thieves. If thieves choose not to read it, they pay the consequence.

BTW, hand wringing over 'what the Chinese may do' is beyond comment...
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NK7Z
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« Reply #49 on: October 27, 2014, 06:38:46 PM »

Maybe I am reading something else.

Mike says:
Breaking peoples stuff without warning is unacceptable

FTDI Replies
So are counterfeit IC's

Seems to me like they are admitting that they broke the stuff.
No...  It says that counterfeit ICs are unacceptable, nothing more or less.  It does not say that FTDI bricked anything by intent or not.  You are reading what you want to see into the text, or letting the upset Aussie influence your logic and reason.  The actual text says no more than what it says, "counterfeit chips are unacceptable."

Consider the following:

I say:
It is bad that cars kill people.
You respond:
Ebola kills people too...
 
Your Ebola comment does not mean you kill people with cars, or that you intentionally kill people with Ebola.    The ranting Aussie is telling everyone what to think, he may be right, and  I agree with most of what he says, but not because he is ranting about it.  He assumes too much.

All of that really does not matter when you have source code that clearly shows that if it's not an FTDI chip then go ahead and kill it.
You are ignoring the possibility that this was an error...  Maybe the programmer is stupid, maybe he/she likes to have things cleaned up, and zeros where they should be, and did not realize this would brick the chips...  I doubt it, but it is possible.  As I said upthread, I suspect FDTI intentionally bricked things as part of a well thought out plan to put a harpoon into the counterfeiters.

As I said I am all for stopping the Chinese and the theft of intellectual property, but I think FTDI could have approached this from several different angles that would have been better.
I agree 100%, and have indicated so upthread.  They handled this abysmally, and if it is an error, the programmer and everyone involved in validating the code needs to be fired.

1) Let the driver install but put up a Nag Screen every time the PC is turned on that lets you know your attached product has counterfeit chips. This would have sent the companies using these chips into a tail spin and would have taught them a lesson.  The way FTDI has done it has caused them to have to pull the driver without affecting too many people.  If they had done it the other way the driver would still be sitting on windows downloads and millions more would have gotten the message.

2) Don't let the driver install and let the customer know why.

I think FDTI got exactly the response they wanted...  Many customers will be contacting their upstream suppliers, demanding that they perform the due-diligence they should have performed in the first place.  I expect that many suppliers will be looking at their existing stock to verify the chips...

My only reason for being such a stickler to the innocent until proven guilty mindset is because that is the core of out entire justice system, and it should not be short circuited.  By not short circuiting it, it allows us to absolutely pound FDTI into the ground, and possibly bankrupt them, if it can be proved that they intentionally bricked chips which "might" be installed medical devices.  If proved true, it is at best irresponsible of them, and at worst criminal!  That is why we have to have a system that is innocent until proven guilty, and why I am being such a sick in the mud about it.  It frees us once proved... 
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
NK7Z
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« Reply #50 on: October 27, 2014, 06:41:16 PM »

Please people watch the video.  Dave talks about legal damages, but the fact is that it's going to be really hard for any company to take FTDI to court when the same company is only having customer problems because they knowingly used illegal counterfeit chips in their products. 

While watching the video, remember the pissed off Aussie is telling you how to think... 
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Dave
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NK7Z
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« Reply #51 on: October 27, 2014, 06:47:13 PM »

Don't buy cheap ripoffs of FTDI from the Chinese. If you do, you deserve the brick.
No...  In a lot of cases the end user may not know he/she has a cloned device because the vendor bought cheap...  Assuming a possible medical device, no one deserves a bricked device.

A 'clone' is not a 'competitor'. It is theft. You bought stolen tech. Why did you update the driver? Was it not working properly? Maybe that's because it is stolen tech.
No...  The driver update was buried in a windows mandatory update...  The end user had no choice.

You buy cheap ebay USB to Serial devices that point you to the seller website for drivers, you are probably buying stolen tech.
100% agree with you on this!

Stop whining and pony up for real tech, or buy another $9.95 free shipping from Hong Kong device and move on.
Always good advice, buy quality, not cheap.  Buying cheap puts you at risk...
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Dave
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https://www.nk7z.net
NK7Z
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« Reply #52 on: October 27, 2014, 06:49:25 PM »

My God I am starting to sound like a Chinese defender. Cry Cry  I am outta here Grin
No you are not!  Smiley  You are sounding like a reasonable person who is speaking their thoughts... 
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Dave
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K5TED
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« Reply #53 on: October 27, 2014, 06:55:40 PM »

The 'medical devices' argument is a strawman. No life/safety devices of repute use USB for critical functionality.

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KD8MJR
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« Reply #54 on: October 27, 2014, 06:58:46 PM »

Well I guess we can all agree that we absolutely hate the Chinese ripping off other people's tech and that this should have been handled better by FTDI.

BTW Dave at eevblog is a pretty good guy, but he does not influence me at all.
As I said at the start, his BS about companies ordering parts and getting clones by mistake and there not being an adequate supply of chips from FTDI when you need them is really BS.
In almost all cases it really comes down to somebody trying to save a buck.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #55 on: October 27, 2014, 07:03:37 PM »

Well I guess we can all agree that we absolutely hate the Chinese ripping off other people's tech and that this should have been handled better by FTDI.

BTW Dave at eevblog is a pretty good guy, but he does not influence me at all.
As I said at the start, his BS about companies ordering parts and getting clones by mistake and there not being an adequate supply of chips from FTDI when you need them is really BS.
In almost all cases it really comes down to somebody trying to save a buck.
Yup, I suspect you are right about that...  I think we both agree that FTDI also mishandled this entire fiasco as well...
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Dave
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K5TED
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« Reply #56 on: October 27, 2014, 07:06:13 PM »

Any device incorporating counterfeit chips and being used for life/safety SHOULD be immediately decommissioned. That said, i challenge the stawman weavers to show an example of a 'medical device' affected by this driver.

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KD8MJR
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« Reply #57 on: October 27, 2014, 07:11:31 PM »

The 'medical devices' argument is a strawman. No life/safety devices of repute use USB for critical functionality.



That may be true but the key word is "Repute".
I don't think many people investigate what kind of equipment the hospital will be using and so it is a possibility that it may indeed depend on a USB port.
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“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
K5TED
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« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2014, 07:17:54 PM »

Feel free to prop up the strawman with facts. Show an example of a medical life/safety device affected by the FTDI driver.

Conclusions:
 (1) FDTI made their intentions with this driver update with regard to counterfeit components quite clear in it's EULA and, thusly, this was not a "stealth" driver update as some posters have asserted.
 (2) The actions taken by FDTI with regard to counterfeit components are no more onerous than Microsoft locking up a counterfeit version of Windows on a PC.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2014, 08:31:27 PM »

The 'medical devices' argument is a strawman. No life/safety devices of repute use USB for critical functionality.


You seem to have missed the word "might" in quotes in my post dealing with Medical devices...  Also there was no argument based on that anyway...  You are jousting at windmills.
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
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