What does firmware have to do with pop rock, you ask? That’s the question that crossed the mind of a security researcher when he analyzed Kingston’s firmware and came across the lyrics of a popular Coldplay song buried deep within it.

The researcher, surprised by this discovery, contacted BleepingComputer to disclose the details of the firmware version and the Coldplay song.

Kingston is a household name, known for its flash memory products including hard drives, USB drives and card readers.

How cool – a firmware that sings

Iowa-based security researcher Nicholas Stark contacted BleepingComputer after analyzing a few bytes of an SSD (solid-state drive) controller firmware distributed by Kingston that left him amazed.

Available on Official Kingston Support Website At the time of writing, the ZIP file contains little more than just firmware, a type of software that provides low-level control functionality for a device’s hardware.

Kingston Firmware ZIP Contents
Kingston SDD Firmware ZIP Content (Computer Beep)

Although the contents of the ZIP file barely raise an eyebrow and contain release notes as well as a working firmware file (*.bin), that’s what’s inside the “.bin” that you can’t ignore:

Coldplay The Scientist 2002 Lyrics
Coldplay song lyrics from 2002 The scientist buried in the firmware (Computer Beep)

“I found the Coldplay lyrics in the SSD controller firmware,” Starke told BleepingComputer after analyzing Kingston firmware versioned “SKC2000_S2681103.”

SKC2000* firmware versions typically run on Kingston PCI Express solid-state drives such as the KC2000:

Kingston’s KC2000 product line running the specific firmware (Amazon UK)

Released in January 2020, the specific version S2681103 make improvements the performance and security of Kingston’s data storage hardware.

BleepingComputer uploaded the firmware file to Kingston’s official website and confirmed that it contains strings including lyrics from Coldplay’s 2002 hit, The scientist.

“I have absolutely no idea why it’s in the firmware,” Starke, a veteran reverse engineer who separated the file for his research project, told BleepingComputer.

“I’ve seen a lot of firmware images in my time and it just seemed out of place,” said the researcher who admits he’s never seen anything “quite similar,” especially in deeply integrated component firmware. ; a hard disk controller, like this one.

Do these hidden words have a functional purpose, for example, as sample data for testing, or is it just a prank from the company’s developers?

BleepingComputer approached Kingston for comment before publication.

In the meantime, here’s the song that steals the show for you, made even more famous by Kingston:


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