Tektronix makes security own goal

Barbra_Streisand's_Greatest_HitsIt appears that the Tektronix company has a few problems when it comes to managing the press.

Last week a small site called hackaday ran a yarn which said that Tektronix application modules were designed with laughable security.

The theme of the post was a review of Tektronix modules that unlock the features in an oscilloscope chip. However, Tektronix designed a woefully weak system for unlocking these modules.

Tektronix was not happy about the details of its system being reviewed in the magazine, and even less so that it was described as being “laughable”.

But rather than ignore the review, take the editor out for a quiet chat, or ask nicely to have the thing taken down, Tektronix said the review violated its copyrights.

Its lawyers sent a DMCA Takedown Notice demanding that it remove the post because the story violated its copyright.

To put this in some perspective, if you review a product and you think it is insecure you are allowed to say why. The use of a DMCA though is a nasty tactic because it means that a less understanding ISP can shut your magazine down.

Tektronix said that the posting on the “Hack A Day” website concerning hacking of Tektronix’ copyrighted modules for use in oscilloscopes.

“Hacking those modules permits unauthorised access to and use of Tektronix’ copyrighted software by means of copying of Tektronix’ copyrighted code in those modules,” the company said.

The posting includes instructions for how to hack our modules and thereby violate Tektronix’ copyrights.

However Hack-a-Day said that is the point of its article. The product uses an EEPROM, a connector, and a plain text string of characters which is already published publicly on Tektronix’s  website.

“ If you were selling these keys for $2.99 perhaps this would be adequate, but Tek values these modules at $500 apiece,” the site said.

Now it would appear that Tektronix is suffering from a bad case of Barbara Streisand after all we would never have noticed Hack-a-Day’s story if it had not objected.