Author Topic: Reasons for hacking DSOs  (Read 89781 times)

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Online hamster_nz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #100 on: March 21, 2016, 03:47:34 am »
My moral compass points this way:

To hack a scope I own - I'm fine with that, might be annoyed if I (rightfully) get denied after sale support, but that is the price I pay for being cheep.

To hack a scope for somebody else - Nope, not worth the hassle. They can do it themselves

To hack a scope just so you can sell it on for a premium - Not happy with that at all. That is just wrong

It is a bit like using chips from a slower speed grade or overclocking... yeah, it might work for me but I'm not going to inflict it on others.

But then I am left with one troubling scenario - If I was to hack a scope I own, and then later sell it on... ohhh that gets tricky! Full disclosure would be the way I roll, I guess.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #101 on: March 21, 2016, 06:07:29 am »
Quote
Bottom line is if they're too damned lazy to even make different versions of the code, but instead deliver the hardware with ALL the software fully functional on it but deliberately crippled, they DESERVE to have folks unlock their hardware once they take physical possession of it. And they deserve to have folks who know how to code release their "unlocked" source code back to the LINUX code pool, thereby fulfilling the terms of that license as the CopyLeft of that base code explicitly states.
There are a lot of legal and moral reasons that have been posted, already. I believe I have read every post, so apologies if this has already been addressed:

There's another reason, and that is security.

If you write a completely different firmware, you have to have the customer send his scope in for an upgrade. This will cost way more, due to handling time and shipping. And it will cause significant downtime.

Or, you have to send every customer who orders an upgrade a copy of this firmware upgrade. How do you do this, securely?

Sure, you can use an encrypted bootloader. But a bootloader can be cracked. Now instead of the keys to an upgrade, the hacker has your entire firmware. (And even if it is not cracked, now this dishonest person can use the same firmware to upgrade other scope for free.... or a unique ID must be placed on each device and recorded in a database and accessed by a service rep for a unique firmware to be sent to each customer - adding cost. And there will STILL remain the possibility that someone will hack and possess your entire firmware.)

It is much more desirable (for a product like this) to protect your firmware from such a threat. Even if it means a lesser security to hacking the upgrade.

As others have said, the code locked upgrade is like a car key. It's enough to keep honest people honest. At least you're not giving them the chance to steal the whole kit and caboodle. (Yeah, I know some IC's can be physically hacked either electrically or by decapping and selectively flipping bits with focused UV light. But some chips are made so this is basically impossible without destroying the chip. Even if possible it would be pretty expensive to do this and could take a lot of examples that will be destroyed just for the chance.)
 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 06:19:04 am by KL27x »
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #102 on: March 21, 2016, 06:14:06 am »
But then I am left with one troubling scenario - If I was to hack a scope I own, and then later sell it on... ohhh that gets tricky! Full disclosure would be the way I roll, I guess.

Rigols can be de-hacked.  :)

 

Offline tautech

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #103 on: March 21, 2016, 06:47:28 am »
My moral compass points this way:

To hack a scope I own - I'm fine with that, might be annoyed if I (rightfully) get denied after sale support, but that is the price I pay for being cheep.

To hack a scope for somebody else - Nope, not worth the hassle. They can do it themselves

To hack a scope just so you can sell it on for a premium - Not happy with that at all. That is just wrong

It is a bit like using chips from a slower speed grade or overclocking... yeah, it might work for me but I'm not going to inflict it on others.

But then I am left with one troubling scenario - If I was to hack a scope I own, and then later sell it on... ohhh that gets tricky! Full disclosure would be the way I roll, I guess.
Yep honesty is always the best policy, like member Bud did:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/fs-rigol-ds2072a-oscilloscope-300mhz/

And documented his repairs so it's now better than ex factory:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/project-yaigol-fixing-rigol-scope-design-problems/
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Offline Simon

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #104 on: March 21, 2016, 08:39:43 am »
sometimes it may make sense to supply more software than required. where I work we developed a system that came in two parts but used one ECU, the first part was the basic they would always buy. The second part may or may not be required. We shipped the software to control a complete system and to recognise the extra stuff if connected. So in a way when we sell the second part we are also selling the software that they already have in the ECU they already bought. Except in this case they need the hardware and the software is to run the hardware, not provide additional software funtionality.

Supplying software with a unit but dissabling it works both ways. I bet if you had to buy a memory stick with the additional software on it and have it shipped you would be whinging about why they don't just put it in the unit and lock it off so that you buy it when you want it and get "instant" access.
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Offline tautech

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #105 on: March 21, 2016, 09:05:34 am »
sometimes it may make sense to supply more software ........


Supplying software with a unit but dissabling it works both ways. I bet if you had to buy a memory stick with the additional software on it and have it shipped you would be whinging about why they don't just put it in the unit and lock it off so that you buy it when you want it and get "instant" access.
In much the same way a Cummins 425 hp engine doesn't know it's a 550 hp until it told to be such.

It's the world we live in these days and you'd be surprised what can't be hacked if time and inclination is applied.
The trick is preserve one's code.....or in the case of some marketing strategies make it easy to break.
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Online Someone

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #106 on: March 21, 2016, 09:40:50 am »
If you don't have the right to do with it what you want you haven't bought it but rented/leased/licensed it.
This is where the legal battles end up, for consumers its simple that a sale is a sale, but for business to business it suddenly becomes "normal" for a complex contract to be part of any transaction and that contract includes that you haven't bought a product but instead purchased a license to use the produce. Remember when certain companies would only sell to you if you were a company? This was to avoid all the customer friendly mandates that go along with selling to consumers.

It gets very murky when the contract says you cannot transfer the license to another person/entity, and shinkwrapping that type of contract lacking consideration (license) is and has been argued in court with results falling both ways. Applying licensing to software in my opinion is a ridiculous restriction as you do not reproduce the work for profit, but utilise its function as a tool, there is no competition with the original creator of the software (in the vast majority of cases) by using it as there is by performing or showing licensed media. Copyright is important to protect the creator of the software from others distributing it and them losing income, but the lawyers have continued to extend licensing out into obscene lengths.
 

Online Someone

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #107 on: March 21, 2016, 09:50:48 am »
sometimes it may make sense to supply more software ........


Supplying software with a unit but dissabling it works both ways. I bet if you had to buy a memory stick with the additional software on it and have it shipped you would be whinging about why they don't just put it in the unit and lock it off so that you buy it when you want it and get "instant" access.
In much the same way a Cummins 425 hp engine doesn't know it's a 550 hp until it told to be such.

It's the world we live in these days and you'd be surprised what can't be hacked if time and inclination is applied.
The trick is preserve one's code.....or in the case of some marketing strategies make it easy to break.
Cars are tricky, most "chip tuning" replaces the factory lookup tables with a higher performance set, no problems there unless the seller of the "chip" is also selling a copy of the ECU firmware on the chip at the same time. Most modern engines are running well below their capability and the same block could be used in variations across a factor of 3 or more in power, but they are tuned back to match other components of the driveline and meet warranty expectations rather than segmenting the market while using the same underlying parts.

For more car fun, note that some ABS implementations use identical physical parts to the traction control option, just a change of firmware...
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 09:58:23 am by Someone »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #108 on: March 21, 2016, 12:16:52 pm »
Perhaps I'm being simplistic - but here's my take.

1. In today's environment, the practice of 'unlocking' features is quite simply an effective way to ship a product with stable, properly configured FW/SW.
2. It is clear extra features were designed to made available after obtaining the appropriate licence/key through certain channels - eg purchase.  Market segmentation is not evil - it is pragmatic and it is transparent.
3. Accessing these features outside the spirit of the licensing schema is wrong.  Call it what you want - theft, stealing, or whatever.  The bleating about the exact words used is simply SEMANTICS.  Get over it.
4. Saying that a programmer has already been paid for the software on a device is simply short-sighted and a vain attempt to justify wrong actions.  There's a lot of attempting to justify wrong actions.
5. If you want to rewrite the FW/SW yourself to do all sorts of cool stuff, then you aren't benefiting from someone else's work - so, go for it.

In a nutshell - if you want to benefit from using a paid feature without paying, then try and justify it all you want - but it is wrong.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #109 on: March 21, 2016, 12:44:55 pm »
A machinst that I know got hacked SolidWorks and MasterCAM so that he could save money. Total value is over $20k. That isn't stealing because the software developers still have the source code?

Wow, that is an interesting argument. You can steal intangible property, and that is what this guy did. He is legally forbidden from using these two pieces if software without a license. If I reported it, do you think a lawyer will struggle to put him in jail?
There's a huge difference in copyright violation, which is more like breach of contract than theft of physical property.

If a jeweler has $20k worth of stock stolen, then that's $20k of stock they can no longer sell to anyone else.

In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything. They are still free to sell a license to someone else, who will pay for it. It's quite likely the machinist wouldn't pay for the software anyway.

This is why all the analogies comparing hacking software to breaking into people's houses are very silly.

I'm sure if you reported someone who stole $20k of jewelry to the police, they'd take it far more seriously, than someone who's using $20k worth of software, when they don't have the license to do so.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #110 on: March 21, 2016, 01:06:02 pm »
In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything.

The developer certainly HAS lost something - $20k cash!  Do you not see that?  Without the benefit of being rewarded for his work, how will he be able to support this software - and/or be able to create his next one?


Quote
They are still free to sell a license to someone else, who will pay for it.

A developer has 100 widgets for sale and misses out on selling one - but he still has 100 widgets to sell and somebody is benefiting from his work, without having paid for it.  Pity he has to live on bread and water for a couple of months and sell the car to pay the rent.


Again, this is a simplistic view - but the principles still apply however you scale them.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #111 on: March 21, 2016, 01:17:39 pm »
In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything.

If the machinist is selling the stuff he makes using that software then he ought to pay.

This is the crux of the matter.

If you're just messing about at home for a hobby then I say "fair enough" but if you're making money using the hacked oscilloscope (or whatever) then really you ought to be paying for it. End of story.

In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything.
The developer certainly HAS lost something - $20k cash!  Do you not see that?

Yep. Developers have to eat, they have bills to pay, they like to have something left over to go on holiday every now and again, etc.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 01:27:19 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #112 on: March 21, 2016, 01:56:04 pm »
Quote
Bottom line is if they're too damned lazy to even make different versions of the code, but instead deliver the hardware with ALL the software fully functional on it but deliberately crippled, they DESERVE to have folks unlock their hardware once they take physical possession of it. And they deserve to have folks who know how to code release their "unlocked" source code back to the LINUX code pool, thereby fulfilling the terms of that license as the CopyLeft of that base code explicitly states.
There are a lot of legal and moral reasons that have been posted, already. I believe I have read every post, so apologies if this has already been addressed:

There's another reason, and that is security.

If you write a completely different firmware, you have to have the customer send his scope in for an upgrade. This will cost way more, due to handling time and shipping. And it will cause significant downtime.

Or, you have to send every customer who orders an upgrade a copy of this firmware upgrade. How do you do this, securely?

Sure, you can use an encrypted bootloader. But a bootloader can be cracked. Now instead of the keys to an upgrade, the hacker has your entire firmware. (And even if it is not cracked, now this dishonest person can use the same firmware to upgrade other scope for free.... or a unique ID must be placed on each device and recorded in a database and accessed by a service rep for a unique firmware to be sent to each customer - adding cost. And there will STILL remain the possibility that someone will hack and possess your entire firmware.)

It is much more desirable (for a product like this) to protect your firmware from such a threat. Even if it means a lesser security to hacking the upgrade.

As others have said, the code locked upgrade is like a car key. It's enough to keep honest people honest. At least you're not giving them the chance to steal the whole kit and caboodle. (Yeah, I know some IC's can be physically hacked either electrically or by decapping and selectively flipping bits with focused UV light. But some chips are made so this is basically impossible without destroying the chip. Even if possible it would be pretty expensive to do this and could take a lot of examples that will be destroyed just for the chance.)

Yeah... call me old fashioned, but all this points to is how entrenched the lazy has become; that we now EXPECT it.

When I need a more powerful 1/2" drive impact wrench, I don't expect to be able to call Snap-On and have them send me a passkey to enable an extra 100 Ft/lbs from my existing impact wrench; I expect to either replace said impact, send it back for rebuilding with a healthy/more powerful motor, or as most tool vendors will do, trade up to a more powerful tool.

I see this much the same way. Marketing weenies and lawyers have used technology to pervert the normal course of business here; it IS laziness, it IS being cheap to try and sell the SAME EXACT PRODUCT to a dozen different market segments. It IS BS to try and SELL something "but not really; we still own the software" that makes the thing not a paperweight. BUY means BUY... RENT means RENT.

Other nations have already decided this in the consumers' favor; the TPP notwithstanding, eventually it will happen here as well.


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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #113 on: March 21, 2016, 02:25:37 pm »
by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so
people tend to treat "software" less seriously to a point they think its ok to violate or ignore an agreement.

the developer has not physically lost anything. They are still free to sell a license to someone else, who will pay for it.
if we only want to talk about "physical" then.. all "software" should be free. the developer has certainly lost the potential of one paying customer.

It's quite likely the machinist wouldn't pay for the software anyway.
two situations:
1) he doesnt pay, he doesnt get to use it (this is the normal "physical" purchase like)
2) he doesnt pay, but he got the chance to use it through some unclever hack attempt. (most happening in softwares)

if he wants to be in position of not paying it, he should not use/violate it. thats plain simple. using it without paying it, is just plain wrong. no one with a right mind will say otherwise. he violate it? he should keep it to himself, he should not say to public it is ok to do so. but...

but there are circumtances thats special, like rigol hack. if rigol doesnt want people to further hack resulting loss of sell, then they can easily block it in newer firmware update. but they probably realized if they do that, potential customers will divert their money to other brands, this is tight, physical and real competition matter. so this "hack" is one of marketing strategy to boost sales. we all should aware this by now, rigol just happily let us to do that with every firmware revisions.

in software, if you want to compete, you make it as cheap as possible and as more features as possible. letting it lose, people hack it easily and use for free resulting in closing down of major competitors, not only the one whose software got hacked.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 02:30:06 pm by Mechatrommer »
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Online Fungus

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #114 on: March 21, 2016, 02:27:58 pm »
it IS laziness, it IS being cheap to try and sell the SAME EXACT PRODUCT to a dozen different market segments.

No it isn't.  :palm:

It's all about reducing costs in the supply chain. These cost savings are passed on to the consumers, ie. you. You get cheaper tools as a result.

 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #115 on: March 21, 2016, 02:31:48 pm »
it IS laziness, it IS being cheap to try and sell the SAME EXACT PRODUCT to a dozen different market segments.
easily said than done. its easier to talk if one is in position of a "customer" instead of the "maker" who want to make a living.
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Online Fungus

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #116 on: March 21, 2016, 02:41:43 pm »
but there are circumtances thats special, like rigol hack. if rigol doesnt want people to further hack resulting loss of sell, then they can easily block it in newer firmware update. but they probably realized if they do that, potential customers will divert their money to other brands, this is tight, physical and real competition matter. so this "hack" is one of marketing strategy to boost sales. we all should aware this by now, rigol just happily let us to do that with every firmware revisions.

More or less.

Going back to the software analogy: If the person had paid $100,000 for some of my software then used a hack to unlock a $20,000 option then I'm not sure I'd be too angry. I made $100,000 and that hack might be the difference between buying my software or buying a competitors.

The problem appears when somebody buys a cheap machine from China and uses $120,000 of my software on it without paying me a single cent. That really hurts me as a developer even if I didn't physically lose anything.

(This really happens, it's exactly what people do with, eg., Saleae logic analysers...buy the cheap clones then run Saleae's software on them)
 

Online Bud

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #117 on: March 21, 2016, 02:47:11 pm »
Jee.., What type of software you writing??  :o
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Online Bud

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #118 on: March 21, 2016, 02:56:45 pm »
I am not in software business but just like other types of products producing one-fit-all product may be because of pragmatic reasons, i.e. It is easier to develop and maintain. It is also more convenient to the customers. Any percieved loss in revenue because of hacking is easily offset by the benefits of the method.
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Online Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #119 on: March 21, 2016, 03:24:11 pm »
In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything.
The developer certainly HAS lost something - $20k cash!  Do you not see that?
No he hasn't, he would never have seen those $20k. If the machinist has decided that was too much he was never going to pay them and would have gone to a competitor or found a different solution. That doesn't make it right of course, but the loss isn't a tangible one.
Actually now that the guy is getting used to the software by using a cracked copy he's more likely to end up paying for it at some point rather than moving to a completely different solution and relearning everything. That's definitely a thing, I've seen it done and done it myself on more than one occasion. As a student or for hobby uses I've used cracked versions of several popular and expensive software packages for some time, but then once I could afford to pay for them and/or had more serious use cases for them than just playing around I've licensed them correctly. See it as an extension for the free trial that's always too short, and the more it's extended the more the person is likely to shell out one day.

What I can't condone and I've seen some guys do is purchase cracked software from "hacker groups", in quote marks because those aren't real hackers.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #120 on: March 21, 2016, 07:58:55 pm »
by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so
people tend to treat "software" less seriously to a point they think its ok to violate or ignore an agreement.

the developer has not physically lost anything. They are still free to sell a license to someone else, who will pay for it.
if we only want to talk about "physical" then.. all "software" should be free. the developer has certainly lost the potential of one paying customer.

It's quite likely the machinist wouldn't pay for the software anyway.
two situations:
1) he doesnt pay, he doesnt get to use it (this is the normal "physical" purchase like)
2) he doesnt pay, but he got the chance to use it through some unclever hack attempt. (most happening in softwares)

if he wants to be in position of not paying it, he should not use/violate it. thats plain simple. using it without paying it, is just plain wrong. no one with a right mind will say otherwise. he violate it? he should keep it to himself, he should not say to public it is ok to do so.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's OK to use software without the agreement of the developer or that is shouldn't be illegal, just that it isn't stealing.


Quote
but there are circumtances thats special, like rigol hack. if rigol doesnt want people to further hack resulting loss of sell, then they can easily block it in newer firmware update. but they probably realized if they do that, potential customers will divert their money to other brands, this is tight, physical and real competition matter. so this "hack" is one of marketing strategy to boost sales. we all should aware this by now, rigol just happily let us to do that with every firmware revisions.
In the case of the Rigol hack, where the reason is to unlock hardware which one has already paid for, then it's perfectly morally right as far as I'm concerned. It's my hardware, which I paid good money for and I have the right to use it. Asking for more money to allow me to use something I already own is like demanding a ransom.

Quote
in software, if you want to compete, you make it as cheap as possible and as more features as possible. letting it lose, people hack it easily and use for free resulting in closing down of major competitors, not only the one whose software got hacked.
Then, when you have market dominance, you can crack down on the crackers and raise the price. This sort of tactic was used by Microsoft in the early days and they're still doing it in developing countries.

In the case of the machinist violating copyright law, by using a $20k piece of software, when they don't have the license (permission of the developer) to do so, the developer has not physically lost anything.
The developer certainly HAS lost something - $20k cash!  Do you not see that?
No he hasn't, he would never have seen those $20k. If the machinist has decided that was too much he was never going to pay them and would have gone to a competitor or found a different solution. That doesn't make it right of course, but the loss isn't a tangible one.
Actually now that the guy is getting used to the software by using a cracked copy he's more likely to end up paying for it at some point rather than moving to a completely different solution and relearning everything. That's definitely a thing, I've seen it done and done it myself on more than one occasion. As a student or for hobby uses I've used cracked versions of several popular and expensive software packages for some time, but then once I could afford to pay for them and/or had more serious use cases for them than just playing around I've licensed them correctly. See it as an extension for the free trial that's always too short, and the more it's extended the more the person is likely to shell out one day.

What I can't condone and I've seen some guys do is purchase cracked software from "hacker groups", in quote marks because those aren't real hackers.

Exactly.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 08:45:38 pm by Hero999 »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #121 on: March 21, 2016, 08:21:14 pm »
Quote
but there are circumtances thats special, like rigol hack. if rigol doesnt want people to further hack resulting loss of sell, then they can easily block it in newer firmware update. but they probably realized if they do that, potential customers will divert their money to other brands, this is tight, physical and real competition matter. so this "hack" is one of marketing strategy to boost sales. we all should aware this by now, rigol just happily let us to do that with every firmware revisions.
In the case of the Rigol hack, where the reason is to unlock hardware which one has already paid for, then it's perfectly morally right as far as I'm concerned. It's my hardware, which I paid good money for and I have the right to use it. Asking for more money to allow me to use something I already own is like demanding a ransom.

Simple solution: use the hardware but not the software.

I don't see any problem if you use the hardware you have paid for. I do see a problem if you use software you haven't paid for.

I do see problems if a manufacturer prevents you using software you have paid for - as Microsoft did with WinXP on one of my machines when the disk died.
I do see problems if a manufacturer prevents you from playing music you have paid for - as Microsoft did with PlaysForSure(TM) [sic].
But neither of those are the case here.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online Zero999

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #122 on: March 21, 2016, 08:54:32 pm »
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but there are circumtances thats special, like rigol hack. if rigol doesnt want people to further hack resulting loss of sell, then they can easily block it in newer firmware update. but they probably realized if they do that, potential customers will divert their money to other brands, this is tight, physical and real competition matter. so this "hack" is one of marketing strategy to boost sales. we all should aware this by now, rigol just happily let us to do that with every firmware revisions.
In the case of the Rigol hack, where the reason is to unlock hardware which one has already paid for, then it's perfectly morally right as far as I'm concerned. It's my hardware, which I paid good money for and I have the right to use it. Asking for more money to allow me to use something I already own is like demanding a ransom.

Simple solution: use the hardware but not the software.

I don't see any problem if you use the hardware you have paid for.
And that's exactly what I've done. I hacked my Rigol to so I can use the full bandwidth and memory I rightly own. I don't need the extra software features such as I2C decoding and what not. Rigol has received a fair price for their oscilloscope. They haven't sold me the oscilloscope at a loss. They've made a nice profit.


Quote
I do see a problem if you use software you haven't paid for.

I do see problems if a manufacturer prevents you using software you have paid for - as Microsoft did with WinXP on one of my machines when the disk died.
I do see problems if a manufacturer prevents you from playing music you have paid for - as Microsoft did with PlaysForSure(TM) [sic].
But neither of those are the case here.

I agree with that but it's hardware locking which is immoral and could even be illegal in some jurisdictions.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #123 on: March 21, 2016, 09:18:47 pm »
Quote
1. In today's environment, the practice of 'unlocking' features is quite simply an effective way to ship a product with stable, properly configured FW/SW.
2. It is clear extra features were designed to made available after obtaining the appropriate licence/key through certain channels - eg purchase.  Market segmentation is not evil - it is pragmatic and it is transparent.
3. Accessing these features outside the spirit of the licensing schema is wrong.  Call it what you want - theft, stealing, or whatever.  The bleating about the exact words used is simply SEMANTICS.  Get over it.
4. Saying that a programmer has already been paid for the software on a device is simply short-sighted and a vain attempt to justify wrong actions.  There's a lot of attempting to justify wrong actions.
5. If you want to rewrite the FW/SW yourself to do all sorts of cool stuff, then you aren't benefiting from someone else's work - so, go for it.
I hate to repeat myself, but I don't see anyone else commenting on this.

6. Security of the firmware.

Having been asked to make unlockable features in firmware for a client, I have thought on it and given the following "secure" options, of which they all include flashing the entire firmware onto the chip.
1. Have a simple code to unlock. Just email the code. But once the cat is out of the bag, everyone will have it.
2. Have a mathematic algorhythm query/response for an unlock. Same deal, but at least it might hold up longer.
3. Have a unique random chip ID for each device. Adds expense, and you have to track each product serial number and this must be looked up for each customer requesting an upgrade.

AFAIC, sending customers firmware as an upgrade is not secure. Once the firmware is decrypted or the bootloader is cracked, it's game over. Rather than an unlock code being public, now your entire firmware is available to any cloner in china who can reverse engineer your hardware and use your own (very slightly modified, so now it's not a copy) firmware to make a clone product with only a minimal time and effort... completely bypassing the R&D that you put into your product.

So all this "they put the entire software on the device, because they're lazy and it deserves to be hacked" is nonsense. The software/firmware is the majority of the dev cost on these new DSO's and a very valuable part of the IP, and sending it out to thousands of people, encrypted or not, would be lunacy. Code-protection on the chip is still one of the most secure ways to protect this IP; hence, delivering the product with the full firmware burned on it is very practical from a security standpoint. Forget morality and laziness... this is common sense. Sending a firmware for an upgrade produces all of the same problems as an unlock code, but now you're adding vulnerability of your actual firmware.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 09:47:11 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #124 on: March 21, 2016, 09:40:18 pm »
I agree with that but it's hardware locking which is immoral and could even be illegal in some jurisdictions.

That is hard to agree with. PC hardware is completely useless without hardware. It needs the software to accomplish anything useful. If you buy bare PC hardware, you can design and code your own operating system to make it do whatever you want, however you want. If, however, you want an operating system that is already done and ready to go, you may have to pay for that (Windows for example). With most modern equipment, you are buying the hardware as a platform to run software - neither one on it's own is worth anything. Because both have value together - they both have value and that is what you pay for.

Software allows anyone (including myself) to have a scalable hardware system that can meet the needs of many. The lowest cost offering is enough to cover the cost of the hardware and the development of the basic software. The extra capacity or the capability of the hardware is totally free to use how you see fit - BUT using the software that you illegally circumvented a security scheme  for is not yours to use. If you write your own code - it's yours. If you spend 30 minutes circumventing a key system so that you can have the benefit of the 100's or 1000's of hours of paid efforts of others is not right.

Just because the manufacturers have not yet become aggressive about enforcement does not make it right. You are counting on others to pay for your software so that you can buy cheap and hack it. If a company NEVER sold a single software option it would either never be made or it would be bundled into the initial  cost - eliminating the entry level scopes with options to upgrade.

I am not high-and-mighty Mr. Morality, I just believe that I should treat others the way I want to be treated. I don't expect everyone to do the same - I live in Los Angeles where 99% of the people are morally absent. Since I sell a product that the food on my table comes from, I want it to remain viable. I have built in various options that add features and performance for a cost. It allows me to capture the customers looking for a lower cost of entry and also be interesting to the higher-end with only a single manufacturing configuration - everyone wins. If a base model needs to be upgraded, there is no downtime. The customer pays for the option, I send a key and they have the feature they wanted. It would be such a disappointment if someone started hacking my product and posting the hack on the internet claiming that it is totally fair because they own the hardware. The option software took me months to work out. The only reason I offer a lower cost is for the benefit of the entry level customers that don't need it or want to get it upgraded later. I will admit, the key system is not very secure since security is not my specialty and I don't have the time to make it better. To some extent, it is on the honor system. I am positive that my customers are smart enough to break my little system, and I have to balance my response with the offense. If a few people do it per year, whatever - if 30-40% are doing it I will start forcing upgrades to come back to us.

No company gives anything away for free. The cost goes somewhere. I see scope manufactures using options to level the peaks and valleys of the sales cycles and I have no problem with that. If I am not in a hurry, I just wait for a promo to surface and buy then. If I need it now, I pay what I have to pay that day and get back to work.
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