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Is there any way via which one can read the firmware of an USB flash drive? And if there is really such a way, can one write to that memory area?

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3 Answers 3

USB flash drives usually don't come with programmable or accessible firmware. It's usually just an USB driver chip with some flash memory chips. Just for my own curiosity, why would you want to do this anyway?

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When you plugin a USB drive, data is sent over the USB bus which contains information about the drive itself (the manufacturer, model no., etc.). Is there a way one can capture this data or, better, can one request that device for that data at will? –  Nitzs Aug 15 '10 at 13:48
    
Try vusb-analyzer.sourceforge.net for that. –  BloodPhilia Aug 15 '10 at 13:52
    
Thanks. I'll try this out. –  Nitzs Aug 15 '10 at 13:57
    
@Nitzs good luck! –  BloodPhilia Aug 15 '10 at 14:03
    
I just want to make a comment it seems "The Virtual USB Analyzer is not itself a USB sniffer tool.". Which is a shame because I would be kind of interested in this (at least with Windows). –  Nathan Adams Aug 15 '10 at 14:58

Actually, there are utilities out there that do something related to some USB mass storage controllers. "MPTool" is one of them although I don't understand how it works or ever got it to reprogram a drive. I suspect similar utilities are used to create a USB flash disk by unscrupulous people that misreport its capacity, and the capability has to be there for most controllers.

I encountered this site and eventually found an MPTool download, but don't really know how to use it. Maybe you can get further than I did.

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MPTool is made to reset thumbdrives - usually fake ones (i.e. thumbdrives that claim to have more capacity than they actually have). The site you found explains that once you figure out the thumbdrive chip make, the program runs and reset it's firmware to tell the true volume size of the thumbdrive, and handle information transfer normally. –  AUTO Aug 28 at 15:10

I'm still researching the tools for this but a good resource for any sort of usb firmware is from the OEM themselves. In this case review http://www.ftdichip.com/Firmware/Precompiled.htm for the precompiled code.and manuals.

Most devices fall into three catagories:

  • USB UART (serial comms, modems, scanners, printers, etc.)
  • USB HID (keyboards, headphones, mice, displays)
  • USB Memory (thumb drive storages )

An example of this is either the hak5 ducky or your android device where software controls the VDAP firmware by switching a single bit that is reported back to the os.

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