Shock! Coldplay lyrics hidden in Kingston SSD firmware


What has firmware bought to do with pop rock, you ask? That is the query that crossed a safety researcher’s thoughts as he analyzed Kingston’s firmware and stumbled upon the lyrics of a well-liked Coldplay music buried deep inside it.

The researcher, shocked by this discovering, reached out to BleepingComputer disclosing the small print of the firmware model—and the Coldplay music.

Kingston is a family title, recognized for its flash reminiscence merchandise together with onerous drives, USB drives, and card readers.

How cool — firmware that sings

Iowa-based safety researcher Nicholas Starke reached out to BleepingComputer after he analyzed just a few bytes of an SSD (solid-state drive) controller firmware distributed by Kingston that left him astonished.

Accessible on Kingston’s official assist web site on the time of writing, the ZIP file incorporates slightly extra than simply firmware—a sort of software program that gives low-level management performance for a tool’s {hardware}.

Kingston firmware ZIP contents
Kingston’s SDD firmware ZIP contents (BleepingComputer)

Whereas the contents of the ZIP file hardly increase an eyebrow and include launch notes together with a working firmware (*.bin) file, it is what’s contained in the ‘.bin’ that you would be able to’t unsee:

Coldplay The Scientist 2002 Lyrics
Lyrics of Coldplay’s 2002 music The Scientist buried in firmware (BleepingComputer)

“I discovered Coldplay lyrics in SSD controller firmware,” Starke instructed BleepingComputer after analyzing Kingston firmware versioned “SKC2000_S2681103.”

Firmware variations SKC2000* sometimes run on Kingston’s PCI Categorical solid-state drive merchandise such because the KC2000:

Kingston’s KC2000 product line operating the particular firmware (Amazon UK)

Launched in January 2020, the particular model S2681103 delivers enhancements to Kingston’s knowledge storage {hardware} efficiency and safety.

BleepingComputer downloaded the firmware file from Kingston’s official web site and confirmed that it contained strings comprising lyrics of Coldplay’s 2002 hit, The Scientist.

“I’ve completely no clue why it’s within the firmware,” Starke, a seasoned reverse engineer who was choosing aside the file for his analysis challenge, instructed BleepingComputer.

“I’ve seen many many firmware photos in my time and this simply appeared misplaced,” mentioned the researcher who admits to by no means seeing something “fairly prefer it” particularly in deeply embedded part firmware; a tough disk controller, like this one.

Do these hidden lyrics serve any practical goal, for instance, as pattern knowledge for testing, or is it a mere prank by the corporate builders?

BleepingComputer approached Kingston for remark previous to publishing.

In the meantime, here is the spotlight-stealing music for you—now made much more well-known by Kingston: