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Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers

Sep 25, 2009, 15:02 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Goodin)

"Lawyers for Texas Instruments are taking aim at a group of calculator enthusiasts who posted the cryptographic keys used to modify the devices so they run custom-designed software.

"Over the past few weeks, TI has sent webmasters letters invoking the DMCA, or US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PDF), and demanding they remove the keys published in blog postings. The private keys are needed to sign operating systems before they work on a wide variety of calculator models designed by the Dallas-based electronics manufacturer.

"Because TI generated the keys using extremely weak 512-bit ciphers, the hobbyists were able to crack the vast majority of them in a matter of weeks using an open-source project for distributed computing known as BOINC. The keys make it possible for them to write DIY versions of firmware that in some cases hasn't been updated in more than four years."

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