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Thread: Does spyware in drivers exist?

  1. #1

    Default Does spyware in drivers exist?

    I know it's a silly sounding question, but is there any evidence of data mining/spyware/spying in computer drivers in general that you download? I'm talking about drivers made since the release of Windows 10. I realize it's safe to assume that everything spies on you nowadays, but in the early 2010's things were a lot better, in my observation. But what about the latest drivers for Windows 7 and 8.1 for older platforms that don't include backdoors in the cpu or have wake-on voice command support? (Intels) An example of one of these safe platforms that don't contain spying of any kind is the AMD AM3 Phenom II platform.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by computerdude92 View Post
    I know it's a silly sounding question, but is there any evidence of data mining/spyware/spying in computer drivers in general that you download? I'm talking about drivers made since the release of Windows 10. I realize it's safe to assume that everything spies on you nowadays, but in the early 2010's things were a lot better, in my observation. But what about the latest drivers for Windows 7 and 8.1 for older platforms that don't include backdoors in the cpu or have wake-on voice command support? (Intels) An example of one of these safe platforms that don't contain spying of any kind is the AMD AM3 Phenom II platform.

    Thanks guys.
    Try a bit of googling. So I don't think "in general" but definitely specific instances, so

    https://www.techworm.net/2015/08/len...-backdoor.html

    ...
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  3. #3
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    FTDI, the manufacturer of a popular USB to UART chip released a driver in 2014 which bricks counterfeit FTDI chips made by Chinese cloners. The driver was pushed to Microsoft's Windows Update, so anyone that got that driver version and had a counterfeit FTDI chip would have a bricked device. The rogue driver sets the USB PID to 0 in the chip, making it immediately unrecognizable under both Windows and Linux. It is possible to recover the chip using an older driver, but you need a Windows XP machine and it's a PITA to do.

    You may think "what's the big deal?" - Well, the market is flooded with these Chinese clones and they are almost identical appearance wise and identical in functionality. End users are completely unaware where the chips come from and FTDI has publicly stated that it won't help end users find qualified vendors for their products.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/ftdi-a...silent-update/

    They did it again two years later in 2016.

    But to add insult to injury, FTDI issued a new serial number ID system in their later FT232 chips to account for larger production numbering (their old system ran out of numbers) and the rogue driver will also brick these chips. So whether you buy a real or counterfeit chip, you're screwed either way. FTDI released a newer driver, but not all users are guaranteed to have it.

  4. #4

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    I don't fault FTDI for doing this. (Except in the case of bricking their own product). This is not spyware though.

    The crux of that problem is that we freely trade with a culture that allows for what our culture considers theft. I'm not convinced that either one is right. Either way we have unreconcilable differences yet continue to trade freely.
    Be polite and I may let you live.

    https://youtu.be/ctrCt_Q6XHQ

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