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Firmware hacks usually take advantage of the firmware update facility on many devices to install or run themselves.Some, however, must resort to exploits in order to run, because the manufacturer has attempted to lock the hardware to stop it from running unlicensed code. The Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab discovered that a group of developers it refers to as the "Equation Group" has developed hard disk drive firmware modifications for various drive models, containing a trojan horse that allows data to be stored on the drive in locations that will not be erased even if the drive is formatted or wiped.This may require ROM integrated circuits to be physically replaced, or flash memory to be reprogrammed through a special procedure.
The driver can also get in-dash information while driving in this manner, such as real-time fuel economy and tire pressure readings. Examples of firmware include: or to change the provider of a service associated with the function of the device, such as changing from one mobile phone service provider to another or installing a new operating system.
An example is Rockbox as a firmware replacement for portable media players.
There are many homebrew projects for video game consoles, which often unlock general-purpose computing functionality in previously limited devices (e.g., running Doom on i Pods).
In some respects, the various firmware components are as important as the operating system in a working computer.
However, unlike most modern operating systems, firmware rarely has a well-evolved automatic mechanism of updating itself to fix any functionality issues detected after shipping the unit.
The Apollo guidance computer had firmware consisting of a specially manufactured core memory plane, called "core rope memory", where data were stored by physically threading wires through (1) or around (0) the core storing each data bit.