The drive string indicates it's an LG drive and I think I've had that model before. LG's aren't really very good readers.
Yes, but I believe the 1.03 firmware update is only to appease Hollywood. It seemed that drive may be able to decrypt UltraHD Blu-Rays. So, a firmware update was rushed out to patch that hole. It's the only update in it. But, there were also 1.01 and 1.02 released in the 6 years since 1.00 came out.
I've updated the firmware to the older 1.03 from 2014 (it turns out there are two 1.03 updates on the LG website - the newer one you've mention above from 2018 (N1.03), and an older one from 2014 (1.03-A0) which I didn't notice before), and it didn't solve the problem. You wrote above that LG drives aren't good readers, so what drives ARE recommended as good readers? I'm considering creating images of a lot of my old CDs, but there's no point in such a project if my drive isn't a good reader (I'm already scared that a lot of those old CDs will anyway be problematic reading-wise, so a good reader is crucial).
Side-note - UltraHD Blu-Ray is a new format from 2015, which is not compatible with older Blu-Ray drives, so I don't think it's possible for my drive to read it at all. The closest model that can read these discs is WH16NS40, but my drive is WH14NS40.
Yeah, I was not aware of the N1.03 firmware. I don't know what that does. The 1.03 I knew of was from December 2017. This N1.03 on LG's web site is dated February 28th, 2018. Funny thing is, that N1.03 firmware is not listed on the firmwarehq page that ImgBurn checks for firmware updates.
So, there may, in fact, be 3 1.03 firmwares, if there's one from 2014, which I only recall the 1.02 from 2014. I think the one you're thinking of from 2014 is 1.02, which is the date for 1.02 on firmwarehq. Firmwarehq then lists a 1.03 from December 2017. And LG's web site for the drive lists an N1.03 firmware from 2018-02-28.