Hardware hackers and security researchers are furious at chip maker FTDI for issuing a silent update that bricks cloned FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chips.
The chip is extremely common on a wide variety of devices and there is no way of knowing at this time which devices have cloned chips -- and the tainted supply chain could hit anyone.
FTDI appears to have used a recent Windows update to deliver the driver update to brick all cloned FTDI FT232s.
FTDI's surprise new driver reprograms the USB PID to 0, killing the chips instantly.
The hardware hackers at Hack A Day first reported that a recent driver update deployed over Windows Update is bricking cloned versions of the very common FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chip.
In response to increasing anger and criticism from security researchers on Twitter, FTDI admitted using the remote kill switch and is adamant that this move is necessary to fight counterfeiting.