OpenWrt is an excellent open-source platform for routers that are highly customizable with much more in the way of security options (VPN packages, advanced encryption tools, etc.) over the mainstream firmware that’s packaged with off-the-shelf routers. There are plenty of routers on the market that support OpenWrt, including Linksys’ WRT3200ACM, Turris’ Omnia, and Zyxel’s Armor Z2 AC2600, however, they can be pricey ($130 and up), and are not exactly portable.
Cheap and portable probably aren’t the best words to describe GL.inet’s GL-USB150 Microrouter, but it costs just $30, and you can carry it in your pocket. While it does look like a USB thumb drive, it’s anything but, as the router comes packed with a Qualcomm QCA9331 SoC with 64Mb of DDR2 RAM, and 16Mb of NOR Flash. It’s also outfitted with 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (150Mbps), and powered via USB port.
While the GL-USB150 can be used as an open source OpenWrt router, it can also be employed for ‘penetration testing,’ allowing you to test a system’s security, or used for nefarious actions. When plugged into a PC or laptop, the GL-USB150 registers itself as an Ethernet device and becomes the default route to access a network.
Since all information passes through the router, it enables you to monitor and manipulate that data traffic, which could be beneficial, or a nightmare in the wrong hands. Considering it looks identical to a USB drive, it wouldn’t look out of place in an office setting, and could be used to ‘wiretap’ any traffic that comes through a network. Mason Jeffers Taylor from DKE Consulting has a great write-up on this possibility, which can be read here.