Dissecting the new Mark 8 E-Meter updater software

Discussion in 'Projects' started by DeathHamster, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Anonymous Member

    That's a very good observation! Before using the Mark VIII, it needs registering first (like you implied):


    It indeed checks if the IAS number is active (IAS membership starts at $500 a year). If not:


    How great would it be if the Virus companies mark this as a virus, and everyone gets an Virus popup when they are trying to register the E-meter. That would be epic!
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  2. Anonymous Member

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  3. DeathHamster Member

    I didn't see any obvious battery/clock in the patent schematics, but it could be buried in a chip like a Dallas Semiconductor one. I'd think it would have to be separate from the regular batteries or people could just let the batteries go dead and reset the time/date to before the expiry.

    Still, how could they charge $5000 for something that can't remember the time of day? That would be crazy! Oh, wait.
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  4. wolfbane Member

  5. DeathHamster Member

    It looks like it's just doing the usual registration key checksum at that point. Wouldn't it have to call home to the mothership to check the IAS membership number?
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  6. DeathHamster Member

    I bet that they don't let you skip ahead to read the Covenant and Software Agreement screens before registering. Poot!
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  7. DeathHamster Member

    Turn the game crackers loose on this, and I bet they could whip up a registration key generator. Then you'd just need an IAS list...

    Can you imagine someone trying to register their $5000 EZ Bake and be told that their registration key was already in use?
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  8. DeathHamster Member

    It happened to me with a $30 game, and I was pissed off!

    By the way, I don't think it would be a good idea to actually do that. It's very grey legally, and they could probably sue for business damages. Besides, this would be hitting against individual Scientologists, and would make them herd up against the cyberterrorist "hackers on steroids" rather than sowing doubt and making them think.
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  9. :)
  10. Anonymous Member

    Oops, my bad. HEre is a Pastebin link:
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  11. Anonymous Member

    It actually connects to the internet to verify if the registration number and the IAS numbers are valid. I guess to make sure the squirrels don't use it.
  12. Anonymous Member


    "Detects if software is installed"

    Yet it uses the Winsock libraries to connect to the internet and send data. Someone really needs to run Wireshark on this mofo.
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  13. Quentinanon Member

    Firmware in an emeter? Internet connection? Covenant? (Bullshit scientology term for contract)
    I say the firmware is just a means to disable the $5000 quack box if the cult no longer likes the dupe.
    Interesting that the emeter uses the proprietary windows operating system. The cult would have GPL issues if they used Linux because they would not want to provide source code to any of their dupes.
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  14. DeathHamster Member

    That's pretty snoopy. I assume that their registration code is generated and could be rejected as incorrect before even going to the Internet and hitting their database to see if there were more issues.
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  15. Quentinanon Member

    If it isn't crazy, it isn't scientology.
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  16. wolfbane Member

    LOL. FireBreath plug-in framework for idgits who know not what they are doing, kludged together with Winsock libraries and evidence of a triple build mess in a single install package indicating somebody wanted something added on the cheap after the initial cheap-assed build. And then they did it again. And again. (Note the "Registry Keys Deleted" tagging that shows up 4 times. That is stoopid noob kludging at its finest.)

    Can we say clean build? No we cannot.

    While I don't see anything nefarious-looking in what's been posted so far, it sure as hell stinks of stoopid noob labor. That's why it such a big file.
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  17. DeathHamster Member

    Here's a thought: How many long years, and how many successions of different teams with absolutely no continuity have worked on this?

    I've had to deal with projects like that: No notes, no design documents, full of WTF in the code and stuff left over from previous versions...

    And just think about who their real project manager was, who probably thinks that he's an expert developer too, and would never let them refactor, clean up the code, scrap the project or start again fresh. *shudder*

    Release date for .NET 2.0 was 2005-11-07, and this project had probably begun before then.
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  18. Anonymous Member

    Yes and No. For people who claim to be "at cause" and the experts on everything, causing a huge fuckup would be rather delicious. Especially since Hubtard wasn't around to make any PL's or policies relating to computers and REAL Technology.

    But also No, because it would be construed as acts of piracy.
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  19. wolfbane Member

    I considered that. But AFAIK FireBreath has only been around since 2010, and didn't really start gaining popularity until StackOverflow covered it in 2011. And from what I can find in the firebreath-dev newsgroup, the lead developer has been hammering on the best practice for this toolkit is to use it with WIX, and avoid using regsvr32 dependencies, since early 2012.

    From what has been posted so far, whoever built this Winsock monster didn't get that memo and probably just rolled with the default C++ project wizard (sans a sensible custom template) that drug in everything under the sun including the kitchen sink, dishwasher and toaster.
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  20. Anonymous Member

    I think we have to start from the assumption that anything done by COS in relation to e-emeters would be done in good faith, and in the interests of the welfare of parishioners and all other beings. It's not like they are going to be doing something in the interests of grabbing cash from enslaved suckers just so they can build more palaces and customize more motorcycles for Tom Cruise.
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  21. hokum Member

    Not sure when these devices were manufactured, but RS-232 is still how one re-flashes firmware, via a bootloader on most low bit value microcontrollers (modern ones can do USB, via e.g. on PIC the Diolan bootloader). USB support offers almost zero advantage given how cheap Chinese USB->RS-232 adapters are (<$1 in bulk).

    Even in the early 90s, one could use a serial bridge to re-flash an i2c eeprom via a suitable circuit, or even via software in a 1 time programmable microcontroller. Even late 90s PIC parts had ICSP support. I would love to take one of these devices apart. I bet they didn't set the CP fuse.

    What intrigues me is the possibility to change the behaviour of an e-meter remotely. Say a 'big whale' suddenly gets 'big case gain' and you can then persuade him to donate more money, or book more courses. But, of course it's all totally legit - this is a standard e-meter, running stock RTC approved firmware - guaranteed.
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  22. Anonymous Member

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  23. DeathHamster Member

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  24. hokum Member

    Based around a flashable Renesas part:

    Overkill for a glorified wheatstone bridge, I would say - 100pin QFP package!

    There's a Maxim serial level shifter part, as one would expect.

    Utterly trivial circuit. I could knock that up in an afternoon.
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  25. Anonymous Member

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  26. hokum Member

    The ADS1210 24-bit ADCs are quite decent parts - about $13-$14 each in quantities of +1k (depending on package). Probably the most expensive part in the whole thing, and overkill since the upstream data rate will probably be limited to 115200 baud, which is bugger-all.
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  27. hokum Member

    Since this is a patent application, the real thing probably uses cheaper parts and not all of the circuit are shown. The lines from pins 23, 24, and 28 on the microcontroller in the main diagram probably connect to to a serial bus realtime clock. (RTC_SCLK, RTC_I/O and RTC_RST), so I think it's safe to assume that this comes with a battery backed clock, to remind you when to service your e-meter at vast expense.
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  28. DeathHamster Member

    You should see the 2000 patent. That used a 68HC705-8 that was obsolete before 1987 and discontinued by 2000.

    The thing is, since the final design was built in 2004, and used for 9 years at Flag and other Advanced Orgs inside of Mark 7 cases, what the heck is left to update in the firmware?
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  29. DeathHamster Member

    I wouldn't be surprised by something like a Dallas Semiconductor 1-wire package that incorporates the battery inside. That would make it harder to reset the clock on an expired meter after someone leaves. Mind you, the batteries in those packages are good for, what, 20 years? And they've already been running for 9 years...
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  30. hokum Member

    Do they integrate with PC software? I think that's the next big thing. Empirical evidence that you removed 10 BTs last week, for your $1000. And here's a chart to prove it. Done on the computer, so it must be real.
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  31. hokum Member

    Could just be a CR-2032 button cell that gets swapped out on an 80s era RTC IC. I Wouldn't be surprised. The e-meter has to be serviced regularly remember. No need for anything complicated.
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  32. Anonymous Member

    One selling point of the Mark 8 is that, unlike the Mark 7, it does not have to be serviced, or "Silver Certed," yearly or regularly, It has to be "software upated" (i.e., IAS membership confirmed) yearly over the internet.
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  33. DeathHamster Member

    They claimed that these meter don't need physical servicing, just the yearly hookup with the mothership. You don't think they lied do you?

    They could protect against someone popping the battery to reset the clock by checking for a reset state on meter power up and put up a "Bring in for service, bring money" message.
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  34. hokum Member

    All I can say, is that It's lucky they're the most ethical people on the planet. Those E-meters aren't cheap.
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  35. Anonymous Member

    Wait.. why do they have a Child Porn fuse?
  36. This is my first comment on this site, but I am a frequent commenter on the Underground Bunker and other sites, The patent for this e-meter was granted in 2000, and filed in 1996. That means it could be operating on software that is about 18 years old. Is that right? From your descriptions, it seems to be a blast from the past, i.e., the serial cable and the way it is running. How is it compatible with any contemporary operating system? (Did it come on a floppy disk?)
  37. Anonymous Member

    Downloaded over the internet:
  38. wolfbane Member

    No. It is not a software driven device. The web client software we are discussing ITT is simply a registration process.
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  39. Anonymous Member

    Has anyone downloaded the Macintosh version?


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