Hermit’s Hardware Hacking Box

Have you ever wanted to get into hardware hacking as well as offensive security, but didn’t know how to get started? Good news! For a recent meeting of the Pittsburgh Hacker’s Association I put together a presentation on how to setup the standard box I use for almost everything. It’s a dual-boot system with both Ubuntu and Kali, a shared data partition, and all the tools you could ever need pre-configured and installed. If you want to get started, just grab the PDF and get going!

Good hunting! 🙂

Starting the 2020 eChallenge Coin Redux

There’s a designer named Bradán Lane who makes some excellent hardware, and one of my favorite things he’s created is a set of challenge coin circuits. I won’t go into too much detail on them other than to note they have a fun story line, a series of challenges, and you have to exercise some basic hardware hacking skills to participate. If you’d like more details, please check out the listing for the coin on Tindie. But what if you don’t know how to get started? Well, a friend of mine (Visual) and I recently played through this, and thought we’d document how to get started for anyone who needs a little extra help. Let’s get started!

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Fixing Firmware File Systems

Here’s the scenario: you’ve downloaded the firmware for a device that you want to explore in more depth, and extracted out the updates.  You dig through them and see that they’re EXT4 systems, and say “jackpot!” while rubbing your hands together in glee.  “A quick mount and I can browse to my heart’s content” you say to yourself… and then you see “wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on {DEVICE}, missing codepage or helper program, or other error.”  Let’s get past that. 🙂

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RFID Fundamentals

I realized I didn’t have any good notes on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags/badges/etc, so I figured it was time to compile that and update it while I’m at it.  This post is just a quick run-down of the frequencies, types, and common cards/IDs.  If you don’t know what an RFID is, for the purposes of most pentesting it’s a security badge or a key fob, like you can see in the image at the top of this posting.

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Introduction to Hardware Protocols

As you begin diving into hardware hacking and reading printed circuit boards (PCB) you will likely come across several common protocols.  This article isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list of content, but rather a quick guide to identifying which protocols are commonly used, what they require, and what common tools will let you interface with them.  I’ll be covering the following protocols in this article:

  • RS-232
  • USB
  • I2C
  • SPI
  • JTAG
  • UART
  • USART

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