Posted by Deliverator on October 11th, 2005
I purchased a few $30 CVS video cameras while in Cleveland, one for myself and one for Casey Halverson. I knew that these cameras had been hacked for a few months, but hadn’t done much reading as quite simply I didn’t think I would ever have an opportunity to pick one up (there are no CVS stores on the west coasts). I spent a little time time reading how to make a connection cable from a palm m100 sync cable, which I just happen to have – I know I saved that old PDA for some reason! Considerably more time was spent reading how to enable downloading of video off the camera. The hack has definitely matured and it is now fairly trivial to download videos off the camera. You simply need to install libUSB-Win32 and a program called OPS and you are good to go. Unfortunately (and as many predicted), a new firmware version has been developed that is not as easily hacked. If your camera has version 3.40 fw, you are good to go. If you have 3.62…not so much. I, being the favored son of the gods, was lucky enough to have the blighted 3.62 fw on my unit. I hope Casey fares luckier. There is already a hardware hack that enables you to unlock a version 3.62 camera, but it is quite risky. Even when performed correctly, there is a definite risk of “bricking” your camera. This new hack involves applying battery power to pin 9 of the flash memory chip during a specific short window during the camera boot process. If you get the timing right, you can corrupt an area of the flash forcing the camera to use a simpler backup copy. The backup copy once used is subject to the same flaws as were exploited in v3.4, so you can unlock the camera once and for all and use the ops utility to replace any non-critical files you might have corrupted with known good copies. The problem is that the “battery and wire” trick can potentially corrupt files critical to the boot process, leaving you with a bricked camera. I think I am going to wait a few weeks to see if a less damaging means of hacking the camera emerges. If one doesn’t emerge, I may try my luck, as the camera won’t be of much use to me if I can’t unlock it.