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Chip unlocking, extracting source

Click-Here

New Member
I have some old devices I made with PIC chips, and other micros.
Of course my code is "revolutionary" and the world would stop if someone got a hold of my device and read the chip.
So I locked it.
:-\

The years go by and guess what??
Hard drives crash, flash drives get reused or lost, the dog ate my notes, and who even has a floppy drive anymore...
I lost my code.
...more than once.

I would like to unlock it myself (so my precious code doesn't get out (here we go again...)), so, has anyone stumbled upon sites or acquired knowledge that shows how?
I know there are businesses in china that will do it starting at $500 US, but I have time to try things first.
I recall some chips if you heated them to an exact HOT temp while hammering it with read attempts will spill it's guts.
Might have been atmel or 8051's.
Others had brown-out attacks.

Not really looking for theory, more hands on, or, hold-my-hand type info.
;)

Anyone?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
As far as I'm aware PIC's are pretty secure, and any loop holes were sealed up decades ago - but in any case it's certainly not a subject for discussion here.

Assuming the code was truly yours?, and you were stupid enough to lock the PIC and lose the code?, then you need to rewrite it - but breaking security protection on micros would be a fairly serious offence. Reading the PIC wouldn't get the source code anyway, only the actual machine code from the device.
 

Click-Here

New Member
"Reading the PIC wouldn't get the source code anyway, only the actual machine code from the device. "

But I have a disassembler/debug/sim suite.
so suite ;)

Once I saw my code again it would make sense (I hope) cause I wrote it.
And a lot of the glitches would already have been worked out from the last time I hit "BURN", so to start over? ... I had more time (and project notes) back then for R&D code development.

Re-doing the code would get me one device up and going again, if I can get it the same.
Really, if this page I just typed got deleted instead of posted, I couldn't re-phase it all this way again if I tried.
Know what I mean???

Learning to unlock my old chips is a new skill, going forward and less looking back.
If I can unlock, I can recover several, instead of just one (maybe).


It makes sense to me, and if it's grey-area in your eyes, I don't see it that way.
The code is mine, the chip is mine to abuse as I wish.

I may decide not to reuse that chip in the future, once "I know".
Learn to pick your locks, and you may find yourself replacing all your old ones.
 
Last edited:

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I've always found that when I rewrite code it takes about 1/10th of the time and is always better the second time. First time you're working out how to write it, second time you have it all worked out and can simply write it. Give it a try, you might be surprised.

Mike.
 

narkeleptk

Active Member
I would like to unlock it myself (so my precious code doesn't get out (here we go again...)), so, has anyone stumbled upon sites or acquired knowledge that shows how?
I remember reading several articles about the older PICS having vulnerabilities from certain power glitches. Then there was also some where you could decap them and cut a line to the protection fuse but I have never worked with PIC's so I don't know what is involved or if there is any hopes of bypassing the security of the newer chips. Most will say its not possible. Maybe they are right. But on the other hand I commonly bypass security on many other brand mcu's that people claim the same things on so who knows...'
What are the " and other micros." you have that are locked?
 
Last edited:

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
My take on this would be somewhere along the lines of what Pommie wrote above.
If you wrote it once, you would probably be able to write it pretty much the same, or better, the next time.
If you have to reverse it, it probably wasn't yours to begin with.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
and why is that?
Because it's basically an offence, it's wanting to know how to steal others property - and shouldn't be discussed here.

The idea that they locked their own devices and then lost all the source code is laughable, and they could simply rewrite if that was even true. And as Pommie said, it's quite possible they might do a better job of it.
 

sagor1

Active Member
If OP locked his chips to prevent others from reading them, then why would he think that it would be unlockable? If it were easy to unlock the chip, there would have been no point in him locking them in the first place.
While I don't lock any PIC chips, I always have a couple of chips with previous code modifications while developing something. OP should look at older chips, he may find one that has most of his code in it, unlocked. Any developer definitely has more than one or two chips they program while building a program or project....
Original posting just does not make a lot of sense....
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
And you wonder why this place gets few regular new users
...
Because of the annoying pop-up ads for non-members. They are so bad, I would have run away if I wasn't personally invited and told the ads go away after registering. But, now they seem to be appearing for members as well.
 

Visitor

Active Member
Because of the annoying pop-up ads for non-members. They are so bad, I would have run away if I wasn't personally invited and told the ads go away after registering. But, now they seem to be appearing for members as well.
That, and flat out calling this guy a liar and/or stupid.
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I just read a few stories on how stuff was cracked. One in a recent edition of Popular Mechanics for the encryption of a game cartridge.
1) the patent office was tricked and 2) An intended power glitch. There was also a vulnerability in some Cypress chips. and certain configurations. The more serious one is if remote programming was possible. The other was physical access was required.

With probably any chip, there is likely the possibility of locating the area on the die and repairing it. A likely real expensive process.

On some Dallas battery backed up memory that might fail any moment what's been done is to open the chip at a very specific spot and attach a battery. This might hold calibration data. The code isn;t protected and the contents are available, but with the wrong calibrtion data. The worse part was the chips were not socketed. Tektronix is one.
 

Visitor

Active Member
Yep, a former company's data collector used the one piece battery-backed clock chip and ram. It was a sticking 10-year time bomb, waiting to fail within a couple year time span depending on how the instrument had been used.

I'm sure many designers said "wow, look at this great new thing" without any regard for 10 years into the future.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I just read a few stories on how stuff was cracked. One in a recent edition of Popular Mechanics for the encryption of a game cartridge.
1) the patent office was tricked and 2) An intended power glitch. There was also a vulnerability in some Cypress chips. and certain configurations. The more serious one is if remote programming was possible. The other was physical access was required.
There was a security flaw on the antique MicroChip 16C84, which meant it was possible to wipe the fuses (including the security bit) while leaving the code intact. This was the main reason that it was replaced by the 16F84, which cured that bug.
 

Click-Here

New Member
If OP locked his chips to prevent others from reading them, then why would he think that it would be unlockable? If it were easy to unlock the chip, there would have been no point in him locking them in the first place.

Original posting just does not make a lot of sense....
https://lmgtfy.com/?q=ic+chip+unlocker




Why would you think it can't?
Why would you act like it can't be done?
Why would you think only the above short list are capable of doing it?

There was a security flaw on the antique MicroChip 16C84, which meant it was possible to wipe the fuses (including the security bit) while leaving the code intact. This was the main reason that it was replaced by the 16F84, which cured that bug.
Ooo, looks like regular folk can find loop-holes and exploit them. One need not be a GOD.


Because it's basically an offence, it's wanting to know how to steal others property - and shouldn't be discussed here.

The idea that they locked their own devices and then lost all the source code is laughable, and they could simply rewrite if that was even true. And as Pommie said, it's quite possible they might do a better job of it.

Because clearly not everyone remembers everything perfectly, except here.
"and shouldn't be discussed here."

Yet you decided not to keep that unsolicited 16C84 little tid-bit to yourself and DID discuss it.
Yes, I didn't know that, and YOU leaked that out.

That, and flat out calling this guy a liar and/or stupid.
Yeah. That.
I feel heavily attacked for floating an advanced topic.
Everyone writes code.
Yawn, what else can you do?
Make & order PCB's?
Program/operate a CNC or 3D-printer?
Pick locks? No better on so many levels than what I'm accused of.
(every one thinks their cool cause they pick locks)

Probably get banned for standing up for myself, thanks to those who didn't stand by and watch the new guy be bullied.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
https://lmgtfy.com/?q=ic+chip+unlocker




Why would you think it can't?
Why would you act like it can't be done?
Why would you think only the above short list are capable of doing it?


Ooo, looks like regular folk can find loop-holes and exploit them. One need not be a GOD.





Because clearly not everyone remembers everything perfectly, except here.
"and shouldn't be discussed here."

Yet you decided not to keep that unsolicited 16C84 little tid-bit to yourself and DID discuss it.
Yes, I didn't know that, and YOU leaked that out.



Yeah. That.
I feel heavily attacked for floating an advanced topic.
No, you were floating a criminal topic - there's no honest reason to want to break security on a chip.

And yes, you will get banned if you're abusive!.
 

Click-Here

New Member
Because it's basically an offence, it's wanting to know how to steal others property - and shouldn't be discussed here.
Is wanting to know how keyloggers circumvent detection a crime.
Or, password stealers, network man-in-the-middle attacks, anti-virus sw, port-scanning, and so much more.
All things a criminal wants to know.
All things that are IT-101 intro-knowledge for anyone applying for or, in charge of IT security at any company.

How to steal, and how not to be a victim.
Forbidden knowledge of criminals.
How many know this topic of or are studying and trying to keep up.

I am not being abusive, being abusive is an reasonable reason to restrict or remove a user, and that's not me.
 

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