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Hack an Oscilloscope, Get a DMCA Take-Down Notice From Tektronix 273

Posted by timothy
from the keep-both-pieces dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the news that Hackaday published an article on the poor security of the add-on modules that Tektronix sells as expensive add-ons to unlock features in certain of its oscilloscopes. The reader writes: "It has come to attention of Tek's legal eagles and they now want the article to be taken down. Perhaps they can ask Google to forget that page?"
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Hack an Oscilloscope, Get a DMCA Take-Down Notice From Tektronix

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  • by frootcakeuk (638517) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:14AM (#47612921)
    Don't forget to mention they also changed every single post from commentors as well. Can't say i've seen that before!
  • wayback machine (Score:5, Informative)

    by sxpert (139117) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:19AM (#47612933)

    the article is safely stored in the wayback machine, and i have made a backup away from the reaches of the stupid DMCA.
    yet another project ripe for the application of the streisand effect

  • Wayback Machine (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:21AM (#47612943)
    Fear not, the original article is still available http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]
  • Tek smeck (Score:5, Informative)

    by labnet (457441) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:24AM (#47612957)

    Have never like tek scopes that much, or Agilent. In fact my fav. Scopes are Yokogawa DLM series.
    All the manufacturers do the cripple thing though. If you want free I2C or LIN or CAN or USB or UART, buy a PC scope like a CleverScope.

  • WebArchive (Score:5, Informative)

    by jiadran (1198763) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:28AM (#47612983)

    The Google cache was taken down. The original author seems to have agreed to take down the information on his site as well, even without having been contacted him-self:
    https://sites.google.com/site/... [google.com]

    However, they were too late. The web archive has already archived their pages. Here are the relevant links:

    http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

    http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

    (not modified)
    https://oshpark.com/profiles/m... [oshpark.com]
    http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

  • This is Danaher Corp (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:35AM (#47613021)

    Tektronix is now owned by DANAHER corp. It is the same corp that bought Fluke and declared that nobody else can produce yellow DVMâ(TM)s. Remember the DVMs Sparkfun was importing but were seized at the border? Same company.

    They gobble up good brands, and it seems the production is often sent overseas. Some folks say the quality of those great Amercian brands then suffers. Do a search and you'll see a long list of companies.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:47AM (#47613103)

    A poor analogy. You would have to actually download the DLC files first, in almost all cases.

    And he's not cracking encrypted data files, he's putting in a cheat code, which happens to be the name of the DLC, because the company are morons.

  • by tompatman (936656) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:58AM (#47613155)
    The G37 Sport package includes paddle shifters on the steering column. If you wanted them on a non-sport version though, there was an ebay seller who sold the paddles. All of the wiring and functionality was already there, just bolt on the paddles plug them in and you were done. Car manufacturers include a lot of stuff like this by default because it would be more expensive to install different features based on what the buyer was willing to pay for.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @09:06AM (#47613197) Homepage

    The add-on modules are expensive because you pay for the features they unlock, not for the components of the unlock device itself. It's a dongle.

    This guy is essentially trying to cheat.

    I disagree.

    To me, they've sold you a fully functional product, and only for extra money will they 'license' you to use all of the features.

    So, imagine you've bought a car, it's got an awesome radio and a turbo charger and a backup camera. They're hooked up and working, just not active unless you shell out a bunch more money.

    This is saying we'll give you the rest of the functionality of the device we've sold you if you'll hand over more money.

    This is intentionally making a crippled product, and then gouging your consumers to get the full version.

    I see this as just rent seeking, and a business model based on upgrades.

    I don't see this as legitimate business, I see it as gouging the consumer and getting found out that your "upgrades" are doing nothing more than unlocking functionality you already have.

  • Re:Tek smeck (Score:5, Informative)

    by harrkev (623093) <kfmsdNO@SPAMharrelsonfamily.org> on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @10:13AM (#47613755) Homepage

    In all fairness (and as a former Agilent employee), you would not believe the amount of work that goes into those things that you don't get with cheap PC-based scopes and low-end stand-along scopes. They do a LOT of work making sure that the front end (analog stuff between BNC and A/D converters) is correct. Also, lots of DSP-ish type stuff right after the A/D too. I am a digital designer, and I worked on some of the oscilloscope chips, and I don't even understand a lot of that of that stuff.

    For a hobbyist working with bandwidth-limited signals, and everything is 5V or less, the cheaper brands are probably fine. However, how do you tell if your scope is lying to you? Do you know aliasing when you see it? I have seen some PC-based scopes do the voltage offset (where you twist the little knob to move the waveform up and down) all in software, and seen the clipping in the A/D -- nasty stuff. You really need do to that in the analog front end You also have how many waveforms per second that you can display. If you have a glitch that happens only rarely, if you are capturing only 30 or 100 waveforms per seconds, you might not see the glitch. On the other hand, if your scope is capturing 50,000 waveform/second, you stand a MUCH greater chance of seeing it.

    I do admit that scopes are a pricey purchase, and part of that is due to the low volumes involved and the high amount of R&D. But, if you need something that you can trust (you make your living off design work and are not just a hobbyist), you really need to get something professional from a reputable company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @11:01AM (#47614229)

    >There are plenty of lawyers that would take this on Pro Bono.

    LMAO, name 'em. It'll be a really short list.

    >or Counter Suit Contingency

    Because DMCA countersuits rake in enough bucks to make the work worthwhile? Yeah, no.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @01:51PM (#47615503)

    There are plenty of lawyers that would take this on Pro Bono or Counter Suit Contingency. And it is perfectly acceptable to simply say, "Go Ahead! Have you never heard of the Streisand Effect" and then sit back and grab a bucket of popcorn as the exact opposite of what they want happens.

    The problem with this idea is that based on the evidence, this DMCA takedown is perfectly legal. Which means if HAD ignored it, they could be taken to court and raked over the coals.

    It's one thing to thumb your nose at baseless cyber-bullying, and saying "You're a fool." It's quite another to be a victim of a bad law, and not really have that option. Sadly, it looks like HAD's situation is the latter one.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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