From Useless Video Glasses to Ransomware: The Difference One Person’s License Can Make

Useless video glasses: One person's license is another's ransomware

Orqa’s video glasses have become incredibly popular with drone pilots, but as of April 29, 2023, the glasses can no longer be booted with the correct date set. The manufacturer, Orqa, has claimed that this is due to a ransomware time bomb that was secretly planted in the bootloader a few years ago by a former contractor. The ransomware was intended to extract an exorbitant ransom from the company.

The Croatian company Swarg Antenski Sustavi is the software supplier, and they have declared that the problem arose because Orqa did not acquire rights to the relevant source code. Their binary files are encrypted and can’t be reverse-engineered. Swarg has offered a temporary solution – a new firmware update to unlock the firmware by July 1. Until then, Orqa must purchase a new license or find a replacement program.

Orqa warns customers not to install the update, claiming that it is “probably compromised,” and there are “pending legal and criminal proceedings” against Swarg. However, it is unclear whether there was an actual attempt to rip off Orqa or whether Orqa simply didn’t read the license conditions carefully.

For those who own Orqa glasses but haven’t yet experienced the stuck bootloader, it is best to avoid rebooting the device for the time being. Orqa initially published an emergency update method, which requires some screwing and can’t be implemented non-destructively, but the company promised to replace any damaged foam parts free of charge. They have since withdrawn this method, relegating it to a simple software update.

Drone pilot Jon E5 has shared how he and other pilots dealt with the problem at the Ice Storm drone flight competition in Milwaukee over the weekend. Orqa glasses are still incredibly popular, so it is best to wait and see what the firmware update will deliver.

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