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Bug DRM Piracy Hardware

FTDI Driver Breaks Hardware Again (eevblog.com) 268

janoc writes: It seems that the infamous FTDI driver that got famous by intentionally bricking counterfeit chips [NOTE: that driver was later removed] has got a new update that injects garbage data ('NON GENUINE DEVICE FOUND!') into the serial data. This was apparently going on for a while, but only now is the driver being pushed as an automatic update through Windows Update, thus many more people stand to be affected by this.

Let's hope that nobody dies in an industrial accident when a tech connects their cheap USB-to-serial cable to a piece of machinery and the controller misinterprets the garbage data.

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FTDI Driver Breaks Hardware Again

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:28PM (#51409235)

    ...

    • FTDI is malware (Score:5, Informative)

      by stooo ( 2202012 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @04:49PM (#51410173)

      FTDI is malware.

      Use Linux.
      use MCP2221.

      • this is why all the arduinos (nanos and other shield style boards) are moving away from ftdi and onto ch340, pl2303 (not great) or other usb/serial chips.

        ch340 has been fine for me, so far. no driver problems, and so far not caring about fakes vs real ones (if there is such a thing for ch340).

        ftdi can go fuck themselves. I think I need to send more notices to my corp (who does arduino stuff; at least in some groups) and we should stop patronizing ftdi.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:29PM (#51409245) Journal

    I think I'll keep my Windows computers with updates disabled, as all the updates have been detrimental to the user, lately.
    Checking the eevblog thread, though [eevblog.com] it seems it affects Windows 10, which I also elected not to touch.

    • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:38PM (#51409299)

      I don't know why this is happening to USB to Serial drivers, of all things, because even worse shit happens with Prolific chipsets. Prolific did a hardware refresh and then instantly obsoleted all of the previous generation chips. Otherwise not a problem, except if you use Windows 8 or newer then the fucking driver they issue causes a code 10 hardware. If you use an older on 8 or newer then they work fine, but stupid Windows Update keeps replacing it with the bad driver unless you use a bit of ini file hackery.

      What makes this worse than the FTDI situation is that Prolific is doing it to their own hardware to force you to buy a new one.

      • What makes this worse than the FTDI situation is that Prolific is doing it to their own hardware to force you to buy a new one.

        So this is not a problem on win7? because I am having problems with a pl2303

      • No open source driver available? All these problems are easily solved if you can just handle your own devices.

      • Plus the prolific drivers suck and are generally buggy. I only use ftdi on Windows.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's best to avoid custom drivers for USB to serial adapters. There is a standard for them called CDC. All major operating systems support it, including Windows and Linux.

        The reason that FTDI and the like provide a custom driver, apart from to screw users, is that the Windows driver has a few flaws. The only big one is that it doesn't handle disconnection. Apparently Windows 10 fixes it.

        Use the genetic OS driver for CDC. Don't get screwed by the manufacturer.

    • by uolamer ( 957159 )

      I have had multiple issues with drivers from Windows Update on Windows XP and 7. If the device was working already and there was an update it was about a 50/50 chance the new driver would cause issues and have to be rolled back.

  • Supply chains (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:32PM (#51409259)

    Thanks to the reality of supply chains, companies intending to buy the real deal can accidentally buy the knockoffs. Anyone willing to do this(or their previous actions, like bricking devices) is someone I intend to never purchase from, real deal or not.

    There are now plenty of competitors to FTDI. Don't buy FTDI- even if you think you're buying the real deal, reality can intervene.

    • There are now plenty of competitors to FTDI. Don't buy FTDI- even if you think you're buying the real deal, reality can intervene.

      So who makes a serial interface chip even half as good as FTDI's? That's the only reason there even are knockoffs — it's the chip everyone wants.

      • Re:Supply chains (Score:5, Informative)

        by willaien ( 2494962 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:08PM (#51409447)

        MCP2221, CH340G, etc. Just see:

        http://www.eevblog.com/forum/r... [eevblog.com]

        • I skimmed a bit of that link and it seems that a number of those interfaces are disappointments. The question is whether any of them were as good as the FTDI chip, not whether other serial interfaces exist.

        • Tested them all. The only USB to serial devices that worked flawlessly are FTDI based adapters and some from Tripp-Lite (USA-19HS). The advantage of FTDI devices is they work without additional drivers on Linux and MacOS. And unlike the Tripp-Lite adapters, they work with MacOS hosted virtual machines. For some reason the Tripp-Lite driver can not switch between host and client operating systems when hosted by MacOS.

          The FTDI devices are by far the easiest devices to get working and support. Send sup

    • by ukoda ( 537183 )
      You saved me posting the same thing. I worked in China and know first hand that you can pay premium prices from an authorised dealer and still be supplied counterfeit parts. It only take one corrupt person in the supply chain and you are stuffed. The good news is everyone learnt their lesson last time not to use FTDI parts and is now manufacturing with alternative parts. A decision that has now been proven to be the wise choice.
    • Not only are their competitors, but many of those competitors don't pay Microsoft to get their proprietary drivers included, and so you get generic USBSerial drivers. This is a huge advantage to the user, because no installation is required, and the drivers don't get updated over time, so shipped units will continue working.

      FTDI wishes they were pushing me away from cheap knockoffs onto their brand, but they're pushing me away from their brand (because I have to buy through a regular supply chain, I can onl

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:33PM (#51409275)

    What is Microsoft's responsibility here?

    They are pushing out drivers that bricks hardware through their Windows Update service?

    How the hell did this pass their WHQL?

    • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:45PM (#51409325) Homepage

      Yep, Microsoft should revoke WHQL on future driver versions and refuse to certify FTDI drivers in the future.

      This is a blatant violation of trust; end users have no way to know if the FTDI chips in their devices are genuine.

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:05PM (#51409423)

        Why do you expect this of all the things in Windows 10 to be in the interest of the end user? Why should this be the odd man out?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 31, 2016 @03:00PM (#51409695)

        Yep, Microsoft should revoke WHQL on future driver versions and refuse to certify FTDI drivers in the future.

        This is a blatant violation of trust; end users have no way to know if the FTDI chips in their devices are genuine.

        This would be how I'd handle it.
        1) After you login you see a message from windows. Automatic update of FTDI serial driver has failed. FTDI serial driver reports non genuine hardware. Warning the use of counterfeit hardware may cause system instability or other undesirable behaviour. Wouuld you like to disable the previous driver, or continue using it and mark it as non upgradeable? A non upgradeable driver may have bugs and other issues that could, in time, expose your system to threats. Long term use is not recommended.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:56PM (#51409379) Journal
      What I'd be curious to know is how FTDI managed to pull this again. I would have imagined that Microsoft would have been less than pleased with them after their last attempt and either watching them more carefully or only letting them back with some sort of stern warning. One would certainly think that it would hurt FTDI more than it hurts Microsoft if FTDI chips become 'those ones you have to manually download drivers for'.
      • by Kobun ( 668169 )
        If Whipslash is reading this - one thing that would be a REALLY interesting addition to Slashdot would be to go find someone from the company to speak to these issues, if possible. Something of an immediate Q&A to either clear up the news or confirm that the situation is as crummy as it appears.
        • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:54PM (#51409669)

          If Whipslash is reading this - one thing that would be a REALLY interesting addition to Slashdot would be to go find someone from the company to speak to these issues, if possible. Something of an immediate Q&A to either clear up the news or confirm that the situation is as crummy as it appears.

          I don't think that /. will every be able to work like that. Compare /. with Ars. Ars actually employs genuine technical minded journalists and produce long form stories of their own. When appropriate they do reach out to all parties to get comment from both sides. /. on th either hand is really just a news aggregator with a fancy commenting system. If anything it should be up to the producers of the original story to looking for comment.

        • This is widely done in media, and what you get as "replies" are press releases. Actually, your comment pretty much defines "press release." They rarely are going to "clear up the news," or attempt to.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        MS should have plenty of incentive to publish their own FTDI driver that doesn't pull this crap. There are now a bunch of devices out there that work fine with Linux every time but not with Windows unless you screw around with the drivers.

        • I don't know how awful the situation has to get before Microsoft has an incentive to step in and write a device driver; but I would (perhaps naively) think that they would take a very, very, hard line on allowing anyone to use Windows Update to distribute drivers that make the Windows user experience look worse, especially if they are doing it intentionally, rather than being not-quite-careful-enough with some monstrously complex GPU driver or something.

          FTDI can do whatever they think they can get away w
        • They have their own generic driver that works if you use an off-brand chip.

          For manufacturers and makers the solution is obvious; don't choose FTDI because their own distributors sell counterfeit chips, or at least chips FTDI fails to recognize as genuine. Silicon Labs and Texas Instruments make better chips anyways.

          Check the data sheet for your chip and make sure it uses the generic USB driver. Then it works in any new-ish OS, and on older ones with driver install.

    • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:34PM (#51409571)

      I would imagine Windows Hardware Quality Labs tests the drivers against the hardware they are made to support. Requiring anyone to test real drivers against fake hardware would be a Gordian knot as new knockoff distributors appear and then fade away when someone starts trying to find them. I'm sure the same factory would produce the same knockoff and a "new" distributor would get it into the supply chains.

      All that being said, I learned long ago not to let Windows update my hardware drivers, any hardware drivers. I just fixed one the other day where suddenly a favorite resolution on an LCD TV was missing. It took a bit to figure out the latest graphics driver (Intel via Windows update) installed a management program limiting display resolutions. Removed that program (and hid the update) and everything was back to normal.

      Of course, in this case it would not matter where you got the update, if your device is counterfeit it gets tagged.

      • MS can't test against genuine hardware, because FTDI can't/won't check an existing chip to tell if it is "genuine," and don't guarantee chips as genuine even when purchased through their distributors. So a generic device that purports to have an FTDI chip can't be tested by MS. Nobody has any way of knowing is something is genuine unless they personally picked up the chips at FTDI's will call door and hand-shepherded them through the manufacturing process.

        An OS vendor has to be able to walk into an office s

        • MS can't test against genuine hardware, because FTDI can't/won't check an existing chip to tell if it is "genuine," and don't guarantee chips as genuine even when purchased through their distributors...

          Well, now all anyone has to do to check is apply this driver update and see what it does to the chip. I'm thinking it should be done while your supplier rep is in the room. You bought 10,000 off the internet from a no name site? Well, that's a learning opportunity... Someone should reverse engineer this driver and build a plug and play detector script or dongle. Personally, if I were making hardware and had to also do support for any counterfeits that would make me crazy.

        • Forgot to mention, I do install updated drivers when needed (Hello changelog), but I don't let MS do it for me. If they want to update an Intel graphic driver, I hide the update and go look to see if it is needed.
  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:34PM (#51409277)

    Let's hope that nobody dies in an industrial accident when a tech connects their cheap USB-to-serial cable to a piece of machinery and the controller misinterprets the garbage data.

    If a rogue USB to serial connector (on a windows box, with automatic updates no less) can endanger your workers, then your machinery wasn't safe in the first place.

    • Re:Pure crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darlok ( 131116 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:49PM (#51409345)

      Not necessarily true. Low-level technology like this is frequently the source of "cascading failure" that can endanger people or property.

      For instance, we have many USB-to-Serial devices installed in chains that capture weight readings from industrial scales. If this suddenly and inobtrusively starts causing that measurement data to be misaligned in the output, those weight readings could be transmitted to shippers who may or may not re-weigh the product based on our volume. In the worst case scenario, something like this could be done as the last check-weight for loading an aircraft -- a weight-critical application where getting it wrong can cause a tail-strike on takeoff.

      Screwing with low-level data INTENTIONALLY is never a good thing. End users have no way of ever knowing that it's happening. Pushing it by Windows Update, where no devs are involved to catch the error, is a recipe for potential disaster somewhere.

      This IS Pure Crap... on the part of FTDI.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        If this suddenly and inobtrusively starts causing that measurement data to be misaligned in the output, those weight readings could be transmitted to shippers who may or may not re-weigh the product based on our volume.

        Except that the injected appears to be a pretty egregious change in the data stream and not subtle at all

        In the worst case scenario, something like this could be done as the last check-weight for loading an aircraft -- a weight-critical application where getting it wrong can cause a tail-strike on takeoff. . . . Pushing it by Windows Update, where no devs are involved to catch the error, is a recipe for potential disaster somewhere.

        As I also implied: Windows + auto updates does not equal safe operating conditions in the first place. Especially if you are talking about things like aircraft.

        Do you have auto updates enabled on any of the machinery that you use USB to serial converters on? If not, why not?

        • by Darlok ( 131116 )

          Do you have auto updates enabled on any of the machinery that you use USB to serial converters on? If not, why not?

          No, I don't... and that's because I'm not an idiot. ;)

          Unfortunately, 20 years in this business have taught me that a significant share of people doing this kind of work are. Furthered by the fact that a significant share of business owners/managers (even in large companies) will shave costs anywhere they think they can get away with it.

          My basic point is that "non critical" links in the infrastructure can still cascade into critical failures. Many of the developers/integrators in the chain never even recog

          • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

            The desktop PC of a warehouse manager, a dumb throw-away "converter" PC that was simply stuck in a remote location to turn a serial device into a "network server", etc... People do ALL kinds of crap to engineer solutions for specific scenarios, often in small suppliers or companies too tiny to have good control processes or discipline.

            Believe me I know this first hand as well and I do understand for point about cascading failures, as well as people doing weird things in factories. However if any one system such as this converter can cause a cascading failure to the point of injury or death, then you are already dealing with a house of cards full of safety vulnerabilities that you haven't accounted for. Your system isn't safe, its jus that you don't know it yet. With your experience you I expect that you know that safety isn't something

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              Sure, it's an unsafe system and that's irresponsible at best, possibly criminally negligent.

              But knowing that is probably the case somewhere, it is also irresponsible at best to violate the principle of least astonishment and effectively fuzz a production system without warning.

              If they would like to log a warning and then operate normally, I don't think anyone would object. Perhaps they would care to tell their customers how to spot the fakes? The only thing I have seen about that was the result of reverse e

            • All it takes for somebody to die in a factory is looking away for a second.

              Factory equipment is rarely designed to be "safe," it is designed to be safe under certain controlled circumstances that typically can't be maintained during maintenance or malfunction.

              A piece of equipment merely detecting the garbage data and going into safe mode could cause other equipment to spill a load that overflows onto somebody's head. Especially if the error is something that never would have happened in testing, because RS-

      • Low-level technology like this is frequently the source of "cascading failure" that can endanger people or property. For instance, we have many USB-to-Serial devices installed in chains that capture weight readings from industrial scales. If this suddenly and inobtrusively starts causing that measurement data to be misaligned in the output, those weight readings could be transmitted to shippers who may or may not re-weigh the product based on our volume. In the worst case scenario, something like this could be done as the last check-weight for loading an aircraft -- a weight-critical application where getting it wrong can cause a tail-strike on takeoff.

        If a single USB-to-Serial mis-reading can cause a disaster, then disaster is coming. It's a matter of if, not when.
        It might not be a malicious driver that causes disaster - it could be a programmer error, or a hardware fault.

        If a design relies on a single point of failure, then the designer is at fault. End of story.

        • by Darlok ( 131116 )

          Heh... it's not that I disagree with you, philosophically. It's just that, where the rubber meets the road, a huge proportion of the applications and systems out there are not robustly designed.

          It's very common for applications to expect either success or failure. Success implies that it's behaving correctly. Failure means anything went wrong. In many ways, FTDI's previous attempt at this -- bricking the devices -- was PREFERABLE to this, as it always resulted in failure. You can be angry that they kil

        • If a single USB-to-Serial mis-reading can cause a disaster, then disaster is coming. It's a matter of if, not when.

          Such is the state of things in factories. When I was younger I worked in factories, and people do die at work. That does not imply that increasing the likelihood of disaster is harmless.

  • For those of us who are unfamiliar with FTDI and/or their "infamous driver"
    • Related stories:

      1. FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips. [slashdot.org]

      How's about it? Am I qualified to be a Slashdot editor? If hired, I promise to stop being an asshole all the time.

    • by Intron ( 870560 )

      Note that there is nothing wrong with copying a chip's functions to make a competing product. In this case they are using FTDI's USB ID so that they don't have to write their own driver. I haven't heard of any FTDI competitors offering to license the driver or pay for its development.

  • Why is an FTDI serial driver needed? USB has had a serial port protocol as part of its base spec and Windows has a default driver for things declaring themselves to be a serial port. I have several devices that work in this manner.

    Why would a vendor of a basic USB-Serial port converter bother writing a driver?

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:54PM (#51409367) Homepage Journal

      Why would a vendor of a basic USB-Serial port converter bother writing a driver?

      Because the FTDI chip actually works. It's one of the very few USB to Serial chips that has proper timing and signals to make it work with marginal, antiquated hardware. A lot of people trying to use old automotive scan interfaces and the like which interface with serial have serious problems when using other chips.

      I have literally never had a USB device outside of HID or mass storage which didn't need its own special snowflake driver, even though USB has driver profiles for several types of device.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @01:51PM (#51409353) Journal

    Here's the safe driver, in the form of source code so you could check it yourself if you want to.

    http://lxr.free-electrons.com/... [free-electrons.com]

    This driver does require a non-crap operating system, of course. Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc probably OSX will work too.

  • > Let's hope that nobody dies in an industrial accident when a tech connects their cheap USB-to-serial cable to a piece of machinery and the controller misinterprets the garbage data.

    Lets hope that no dumb idiot would connect anything critical to a "cheap USB-to-serial cable".

    • by rjforster ( 2130 )

      Or you might have to get your USB-Serial cable from the corporate approved list. This list being populated by beancounters rather than engineers.

  • by wisewellies ( 2749169 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:03PM (#51409405)

    Why can't FTDI realise that this kind of behaviour is only going to hurt innocent end users, rather than the people responsible for peddling counterfeit devices? I've bought hundreds of these devices in the past from reputable suppliers, and in precisely zero cases can I determine whether the chipset is genuine or not before purchase. If I can't tell what I'm buying, then why am I being punished when I've bought in good faith? Why can't FTDI instead use existing mechanisms and laws to find the people responsible?

    Of course Linux drivers for these devices work every time, counterfeit or not. Perhaps a different approach might be for someone to take the Linux code and create a decent open-source Windows driver to replace the buggy (i.e. injecting unwanted serial data) FTDI code?

    • Why can't FTDI realise that this kind of behaviour is only going to hurt innocent end users, rather than the people responsible for peddling counterfeit devices?

      Why does the MPAA keep trying to come up with new encryption schemes for physical and electronic movie media when that kind of behavior is only going to hurt innocent end users?

      I assume the answers to these two questions - as well as other related questions - involves the terms "decision-makers", "narcissistic", and "sociopaths".

    • Perhaps a different approach might be for someone to take the Linux code and create a decent open-source Windows driver

      "Open-source Windows driver" is a contradiction in terms.

      Since Windows Vista 64-bit, Microsoft has placed a policy in Windows to require device drivers to be digitally signed with a kernel-mode code signing certificate from a commercial certificate authority. As of Windows 10, Microsoft has tightened this policy to require disclosure of the binary code of all drivers to Microsoft [msdn.com], and new drivers submitted since November 2015 must be signed with an Extended Validation (EV) certificate [msdn.com]. An EV certificate is

    • They do realize.

      However, they are not a very successful electronics company. They have one (1) product that is wildly successful, and since they don't have better engineers than their competitors, they're not positioned to ensure they continue to control that niche in the future. In fact, Silicon Labs are already replacing FTDI as the preferred name-brand chip. Presumably that one is designed by Microchip. I prefer the Texas Instruments ones, because they come in more packages. (SL prefers modern non-hand-s

  • by stazeii ( 1148459 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:09PM (#51409455) Homepage
    Son of a.... I spent, literally, 4 hours yesterday trying to troubleshoot a 3d Printer (Tinyboy 3D), with it not working. MProg from FTDI said the chip was fine (right vendor and product ID), but it just wouldn't work. I tried every driver I could find. Finally, I uninstalled the driver, disabled wifi, plugged it in, waited for Windows 7 to install the version it knew (2.4 something), used Mprog 3.5 to reprogram the chip as legit (as per: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]), unplugged, replugged (at which point windows reinstalled it again, with 2.4), and suddenly it started working! I can confirm this "Non Genuine" serial data, since I opened up the Arduino IDE and saw that on the serial console. You know, I sympathize with FTDI. They're having their tech ripped off. But, it's inappropriate to punish end users who don't have any say. Sure, we could not buy stuff that uses counterfeit chips, but many sellers aren't even going to know. FTDI should be pursuing the counterfeiters in China, and using what legal system China has to stop it. Either that, or create a version of the chip that has such a low price point, they put the cloners out of business by providing legit-working-alternatives for a price point. So annoying that I've lost time because FTDI does this crap, and apparently Microsoft is okay with it (I don't see how this should have passed WHQL).
  • My guess is that they have cash-flow problems and they now think pissing-off potential customers is the way to go. You know, like the music and movie industries.

    On the side of solid engineering practices, they can refuse to talk to that counterfeit device by not detecting it or giving an out-of-band error on detection, but that is it. Breaking the hardware intentionally is sabotage and exceptionally unethical. Being willing to work with the device but then injecting data into the data-stream intentionally i

  • Seriously, if FTDI wants to use their drivers to push out counterfeits, there's ways to do that without pissing off your customers or doing something possibly illegal.

    How about, if your driver detects it's not actual hardware, you just refuse to work? Pop up a message saying "This is not FTDI hardware. This driver is not compatible with this hardware." If you want to be nice, give them a click-through that says "we have no idea what this hardware actually does. We cannot guarantee that using this driver wil

    • by ukoda ( 537183 )
      Yes, this would have been the correct and ethical way to deal with the issue. Refuse to talk the counterfeit chip and provide a clear pop up message to the user.

      That then allows the user to complain to the equipment supplier with meaningful information, passing the issue back up the supply chain but also allows the end user to start the process of sourcing and installing working drivers.

      The equipment supplier now alerted to the problem can now pay extra to use proper parts in future if they were know
  • Are we talking about chips that are actually using unlicense patented technology, or just chips that have a compatible pinout and interface?

    • Re:Patent? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RealGene ( 1025017 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @05:43PM (#51410401)
      'Compatible' chips that report FTDI's USB Vendor ID (VID) and Product ID (PID). That way, they don't have to actually write their own driver and get it approved by MS.
      So, when Windows interrogates the device, it appears to be FTDI, so Windows loads the FTDI driver.
      That driver makes an undocumented call that only genuine FTDI chips will respond to correctly, so the driver can tell whether a knockoff part is attached.
      Other legit serial chip makers use their own PID/VID, so it's not an issue with TI, Silabs, etc., only with 'Best Lucky Interface Ltd' parts.
  • FTD Driver? (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @04:40PM (#51410121)

    Those damned florists and their delivery vans!

  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @07:00PM (#51410773) Homepage

    One problem these counterfeit chips pose is that all the sudden companies like FTDI end up with a lot of support costs for people who bought shoddy products with the fake chips, which often don't work nearly as well as the real thing. This is a way for FTDI to crack down on the counterfeit chips. While it sucks for the consumers that end up with the fake chips, it will also help put a stop to the counterfeit chips since any product that uses them will not work.

    At my company we make a number of development boards using the quad FTDI chips for the serial interface. We use them because in addition to RS232 they also can talk I2C and JTAG, among other things. I can reliably run the FTDI chips at 10Mbps. I've used other USB to serial devices in the past but I've had lots of problems with them. Some cables I bought, for example, will just suddenly stop working and I have to periodically reset the baud rates.

    Why should FTDI have to bear the burden and support costs of counterfeit chips? If somebody else slaps the FTDI manufacturer ID and product ID onto their USB device then they deserve whatever happens. Why should FTDI have to spend resources supporting fake chips? By doing what they are doing, it will drive the fake chips out of the system and prevent future ones.

    I work for a chip manufacturer and while there's a very low risk that someone will make fake chips like ours (very complex network processors), we have had to add features to our chips so that our end customers can prevent counterfeit equipment which just copies their software. We have some large customers who have been battling Chinese made counterfeit equipment.

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