Cable modem hackers conquer the co-ax

Friday, 6 February 2004, 11:15 AM EST

A small and diverse band of hobbyists steeped in the obscure languages of embedded systems has released its own custom firmware for a popular brand of cable modem, along with a technique for loading it -- a development that's already made life easier for uncappers and service squatters, and threatens to topple long-held assumptions about the privacy of cable modem communications.

The program, called Sigma, was released in its final version last month, and has reportedly been downloaded 350 to 400 times a day ever since. It's designed to be flashed into the non-volatile memory of certain models of Motorola's Surfboard line, where it runs in parallel with the device's normal functionality. It gives users almost complete control of their cable modem -- a privilege previously reserved for the service provider.

By Kevin Poulsen at SecurityFocus.

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