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Old 02-18-2016, 08:26 PM   #1
japlytic
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Default Locking out alternative router firmware...

http://www.myce.com/news/tp-link-has...-dd-wrt-78623/

Ever seen DearFCC.org? You have probably heard about this, but a number of manufacturers have stopped producing firmware updates for a particular model after a certain (and often short) time, which can leave networking equipment open to security problems because updates have been discontinued for the particular model.

I believe that firmware updates should constitute being "spare parts", and that firmware should be updated for at least 5 years (or longer under national law) after the particular model has been discontinued.

Also, I have read for the total lines of code, proprieatary software can have up to 3% with security bugs whereas open-source code has no more than 0.02%.

So basically, the FCC rules can be a bit of a security risk to consumers.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Really they should separate the two pieces of firmware and be damned it costs more... because it'd cost more for everyone anyway.

Just those people who don't care about open firmware and simply want to pay less for their routers...
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

jtag or use the internal serial port to flash the bitches.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

I wish more companies would release their code open source once they discontinue their products (if they're not open source to begin with). I contacted HP once. I have a few of their wireless print servers. They said on the box they supported multi-function printers. To some degree, they do. But the printers I had, I could only print wirelessly, not scan. Since HP discontinued the models, I asked if they would release the source code to their print servers. Unfortunately, they said they couldn't because they didn't own the rights to all of the software. I asked if they could release the code with the parts they didn't have rights to removed but I never got a response.

I did manage to dump the firmware using some USB JTAG device I bought. Boy was that an experience!
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

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jtag or use the internal serial port to flash the bitches.
Is there a way to figure out the pin outs of the serial ports? It shouldn't be dangerous if you accidently switch the RX and TX lines, right? I think I found some serial lines on this wireless print server. Also, do you know of anyways to verify that they're actual serial lines? Would it cause any damage if they weren't? Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

the internal serial ports are usually 4pins.
ground - obvious
vcc - 3.3v or 5v usually - used to power your level convertor, not needed if your adapting to usb
txd - easy to detect because when the router boots you will see data on it.
rxd - the only one left
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

I just want to make sure people understand the problem:

I'm sure most router manufacturers don't give a crap to what you do to their routers. The FCC doesn't care what you TCP/IP packets do on your router either. The FCC (and any other country that governs the airwaves) does care about what comes out of your antennas, however. The problem being is that someone, defaulting to the router manufacturer, may be liable for any damages caused by you inadvertently changing the software defined radio to interfere with something else.

But you'll say "I'll be doubly careful..."

No, FCC wants to make sure that there's a clear person to sue if someone comes to them and complains that their band that was allocated to them was infringed upon. Say you hack your router to use a cell phone band, accidentally or not... You could go claim innocence - "I just modified the firmware to change to $CUSTOMFIRMWARE... but I didn't know that it would interfere with terrestrial TV..." Multiply this by *EVERYONE* who downloaded the firmware and started interfering with bands they were not licensed to use. So they have to keep the genie in the bottle.

If they kept the SDR software separate from the router firmware and do not allow updates to the SDR firmware, then all this would be skirted as the user now only changes the router portion, and not the radio. This unfortunately also prevents or makes difficult updates to the SDR in case a new algorithm comes out that's more reliable.

Ultimately, yes, FCC wants you to simply toss the router when it no longer useful... As much as I want to be able to hack my routers or any other computer equipment, they have a case here. People who could arbitrarily broadcast on a shared medium must be licensed by the FCC (Ask amateur radio users, they know the rules of using radio, that's what the ham license is rewarded for). The reason why 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/... along with cellular phones and FRS bands is that the manufacturer/carriers vouched for the equipment purchasers (You!) won't go off their assigned frequencies.

So really there are two solutions:
1. Each person buy/use SDRs must get a FCC license to prove they understand the rules of the road for using the airwaves
or
2. SDR firmware must be locked.

Fine grain locking (meaning, keep SDR software separate) might be the best overall though it costs more money to build the hardware this way.

So don't complain about the FCC, don't complain about router manufacturers, complain to the people who want to pay as little as possible for a router.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

i think it's more that they dont want people region-switching to say "japan" to unlock extra channels.
a number of router company's already have u.s. and non-u.s. firmware versions for download.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
the internal serial ports are usually 4pins.
ground - obvious
vcc - 3.3v or 5v usually - used to power your level convertor, not needed if your adapting to usb
txd - easy to detect because when the router boots you will see data on it.
rxd - the only one left
I got two pads hidden under a heatsink that I suspect are the TXD and RXD lines. I have a TTL to serial converter. Would I need to use that? The GND and VCC I'll have to find somewheres else on the board.

I bet my new logic analyzer might help figure if they're TXD / RXD lines.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
i think it's more that they dont want people region-switching to say "japan" to unlock extra channels.
a number of router company's already have u.s. and non-u.s. firmware versions for download.
Why don't they want people region switching to unlock extra channels? I know in the US, we have region locked DVD players. I think in other countries, like Australia, their DVD players have to be able to play DVDs from all regions. In the US though, it's kind of the opposite. I think here, it's mainly for money.

For the router, is it because the other channels are being used for other services in the USA?
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

there are 14 wifi channels,
a lot of country's reserve one or more of those channel slots for government or millitary use.
not specificly for wifi - could be mobile-radio or anything really.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

The DVD regions is purely for profit and control of such.

The Radio frequencies is regional because countries develop at different rates, and allocate spectrum different from each other.

Two different issues here.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Quote:
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there are 14 wifi channels,
a lot of country's reserve one or more of those channel slots for government or millitary use.
not specificly for wifi - could be mobile-radio or anything really.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels
Gotcha!
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

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The DVD regions is purely for profit and control of such.

The Radio frequencies is regional because countries develop at different rates, and allocate spectrum different from each other.

Two different issues here.
Yeah, I knew it couldn't of been for the same reason. Only reason I could think we were doing the region lock thing for DVDs was so companies could make even more money in the US by preventing other countries from making good movies and selling them here without paying lots of cash.

So, would China be more developed than us when it comes to electronics (including wireless technologies?) I believe I've heard some gamers say they have much harder video games over there but the players are generally better players.

For example, here, we had Super Mario Bros for the NES. There, they had Super Mario Bros and then Super Mario Bros - The Lost Levels. That Lost Levels game is crazy hard, especially compared to the first NES version of Mario. It never got released for the NES in America though.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

the u.s. is very behind most of the world actually.
and you can blame your government for refusing to adopt other people's standards.

an example, we had GSM cellfones in europe over 22years ago, because it was not a u.s. standard the u.s. stuck with analog for years.
even before GSM there was AMPS vs TACTS / ETACS

the world has DVB tv, the u.s. insisted on going with ATSC
https://www.chinavasion.com/digital-tv-explained.html

the shit goes on and on.
dont even get me started on Pal vs NTSC

what it's all about is simple, market protection.
the u.s. will never adopt some other country's standard because it gives the other country's manufacturers a headstart on equipment import and sales.

my giving the world (and the u.s. public) the middle finger, they create a u.s. centric "standard" for something and then give the spec to u.s. manufacturers like motorola before the rest of the world gets a look--in.

even when they do eventually follow the rest of the world they find a way to throw a fucking spanner in the works.
the u.s. GSM band is shifted 100MHz from the rest of the world, so you need a different tuner or firmware in the handset!

Last edited by stj; 02-20-2016 at 12:54 AM..
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
the u.s. is very behind most of the world actually.
and you can blame your government for refusing to adopt other people's standards.

an example, we had GSM cellfones in europe over 22years ago, because it was not a u.s. standard the u.s. stuck with analog for years.
even before GSM there was AMPS vs TACTS / ETACS

the world has DVB tv, the u.s. insisted on going with ATSC
https://www.chinavasion.com/digital-tv-explained.html

the shit goes on and on.
dont even get me started on Pal vs NTSC

what it's all about is simple, market protection.
the u.s. will never adopt some other country's standard because it gives the other country's manufacturers a headstart on equipment import and sales.

my giving the world (and the u.s. public) the middle finger, they create a u.s. centric "standard" for something and then give the spec to u.s. manufacturers like motorola before the rest of the world gets a look--in.

even when they do eventually follow the rest of the world they find a way to throw a fucking spanner in the works.
the u.s. GSM band is shifted 100MHz from the rest of the world, so you need a different tuner or firmware in the handset!
Huh, so it's all about the money, eh? I remember learning in History (way back in the day!) that China used to be superior in many ways towards the rest of the world. They blocked off the rest of the world and wouldn't import anything. Time went by, the rest of the world evolved and China didn't. They realized they were behind and decided to change.

I think it shouldn't be about all the benjamins but more about making the human race better. I guess I'm just a dreamer though
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

Actually no, it's not the US adopting other people's standards, it's the US picking things first before thinking things through, and then other countries learning from the mistakes the US did... and after proliferation in the US, it's too expensive to fix the mistakes.

Then the people in the US not wanting government control of things like forcing people to use metric, etc... let the free market decide, etc...

*shrug* I'm stuck in the US, not much I can do...do I suck up to the free market or do I suck up to the government? Either way, it sucks.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:17 PM   #18
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

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Actually no, it's not the US adopting other people's standards, it's the US picking things first before thinking things through, and then other countries learning from the mistakes the US did... and after proliferation in the US, it's too expensive to fix the mistakes.

Then the people in the US not wanting government control of things like forcing people to use metric, etc... let the free market decide, etc...

*shrug* I'm stuck in the US, not much I can do...do I suck up to the free market or do I suck up to the government? Either way, it sucks.
I guess the nice thing about the US is things can change fairly quick like. That's also one of the problems though as well. Every four years, we can get another president.

I think learning the metric system would be nice. They tried teaching us back in high school. We did a lot in the metric system, but we didn't really have to learn the basics. For example, if you tell me to go find you a piece of wood, 2 feet long by 4 inches wide, I could find it with no problems. But if you tell me to go find you a piece of wood 2 meters wide by 40 cm, I wouldn't have an idea what you was talking about. Like, I have no idea how big a meter is, nor do I have any idea how big most of the other metric units are. I think this is a flaw in the way they teach us and it needs to be changed before the metric system really catches on over here.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

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I think learning the metric system would be nice.
what's to learn? it's just decimal.
10mm = 1cm
100cm = 1m
1000m = 1km

and such.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:28 PM   #20
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Default Re: Locking out alternative router firmware...

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But if you tell me to go find you a piece of wood 2 meters wide by 40 cm, I wouldn't have an idea what you was talking about. Like, I have no idea how big a meter is, nor do I have any idea how big most of the other metric units are. I think this is a flaw in the way they teach us and it needs to be changed before the metric system really catches on over here.
just remember this:
1foot = about 30cm
so a meter = about 3.3feet
or 3foot and 4inches
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