Now they are coming for your dd-wrt

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2015 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: wireless router, idiots, dd-wrt

In the next installment of poorly planned out moves by a US government agency attempting to solve a problem that does not exist, we shall see an attempt to make illegal the modification of the firmware on any device which contains an radio.  This is likely to prevent you from using open source software to modify your wireless router into a death ray which will allow you to take over the planet. 

Specifically, it will make illegal the modification of any device which can broadcast on U-NII bands which happen to include the 5GHz bandwidth that WiFi broadcasts on.  While most firmware changes, such as dd-wrt only change the processor the routers are SoC's which means that the radio is technically a part of the same device as what you modify when applying custom firmware.  Hack a Day has links to the FCC proposal, you might want to consider emailing your congress critters about it.

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"Because of the economics of cheap routers, nearly every router is designed around a System on Chip – a CPU and radio in a single package. Banning the modification of one inevitably bans the modification of the other, and eliminates the possibility of installing proven Open Source firmware on any device."

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August 31, 2015 | 05:02 PM - Posted by DJF (not verified)

"""This is likely to prevent you from using open source software to modify your wireless router into a death ray which will allow you to take over the planet. """

Who told them my plan?

August 31, 2015 | 05:56 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

And once again, people think that some bozo, unelected bureaucrats with 3 letter names, in this case the FCC, can tell you when you can fart. I have used DD-WRT on many routers, and will continue to do so. If they want to waste taxpayer money going after me because I apparently have plans to take over the universe, well then, by all means come after me! LOL

August 31, 2015 | 05:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just goes to show you that our species turns the biggest assholes into decision makers and their decisions are usually moronic.

August 31, 2015 | 06:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There needs to be the same level of action/outrage about M$'s control over the secure boot key signing authority. There should be open source BIOS solutions for all computing devices from computers to routers to disk drives hard/SDD etc. Who decided to not enforce any of the antitrust laws on the books to stop the biggest OS monopoly from taking control of the independent third party OEM PC/Laptop software ecosystem, and ultimately the users hardware via the UEFI/BIOS and secure boot. Pretty soon the FCC will be making any laptop's/PC's BIOS unmodifiable because the devices contain WIFI radios! What's next wired routers, will it be illegal to block M$'s windows 10 metrics gathering.

The UEFI/BIOS system have already have been compromised by some device makers, and just what is in the UEFI/BIOS on some laptop/PC devices! better keep check on those new windows 10 laptops that users may want to load with their own compiled Linux distro, If the presence of a windows secure boot OFF switch is now optional that laptop may have its hardware restricted to only what M$ provides the signed keys for. It's just a matter of time before all that windows telemetry gets shoved down into the the UEFI/BIOS for those computers that come with windows 10 factory installed, and even wire-shark may not help, or even running windows in a VM.

First its wireless routers, then it's any device with a WIFI radio, then it's big brother in control over everything. If it's not the big monopolies after our personal metrics to sell to any and all with the cash, it's the NSA and the other extra constitutional powers and the secret court of star chamber where basic rights are politically supplanted by the powerful.

August 31, 2015 | 11:47 PM - Posted by razor512

Keep in mind that routers often stop receiving firmware updates within 2 years of their release.

A good example of the trouble with this are security vulnerabilities. There are many routers in use today that are vulnerable to the netUSB exploit, and will never receive an official update from the company that made the router. There is a long list of remotely exploitable vulnerabilities which will never be officially fixed. Are we to expect millions of users to buy a new $200+ router every 1-2 years, even though the hardware they are replacing may not be obsolete, and the new hardware may not offer meaningful improvements to their networks, simply because the FCC feels that it needs to take away our ability to run alternative firmware?

September 1, 2015 | 02:22 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Apparently, yes. 

September 1, 2015 | 01:09 AM - Posted by Esa (not verified)

Is that missing an "of"? "firmware any device which contains an radio."

September 1, 2015 | 02:23 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom


September 1, 2015 | 07:41 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

Please comment, this is very important for all of us.

PS, please mention this on the podcast.

September 1, 2015 | 12:07 PM - Posted by Dr_b_

A lot of things have radios that operate in UNI, that includes your phone, which means no more custom android roms, or no more jailbreaking with IOS, to any IoT Device, to this is total busslhit. And good luck enforcing that rule.

So let's just trust the manufacturers, and only them, to make secure firmware which often isn't, and force consumers with the threat of imprisonment and/or fines, to not change said firmware even if its better.

This also won't stop someone malicious, who is intent on breaking the law regardless, from loading custom firmware.

September 1, 2015 | 02:28 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

DAMN IT WINDOWS 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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