Hack Chip: An Uber Portable Hacking Powerhouse

Ethical hacking can be a lot of fun; if you’ve ever started a new job at a company with a poorly secured network, you’ve probably…

Cameron Coward
5 years ago

Ethical hacking can be a lot of fun; if you’ve ever started a new job at a company with a poorly secured network, you’ve probably experienced the thrill of seeing just what you have access to. Heck, hacking is such a good time that there is an entire conference devoted to it that draws in tens of thousands of hackers from around the globe every year. But, lugging around an ordinary hacking rig takes some muscle, and is sure to be attention-grabbing (the last thing a hacker wants).

El Kentaro wanted a feature-packed hacking station, but wanted to keep it light, portable, and inconspicuous. When he came across the Next Thing Co. PocketCHIP, a mod-friendly pocket computer, he knew he had found the perfect platform for the project. The PocketCHIP is easily hackable by design, but is really intended to be a portable retro-gaming system (if the marketing material is any indication).

However, it does run full-blown Linux, so El Kentaro knew he could pretty easily bend it to his will. After setting the system up to his liking, he got the good stuff by first install Aircrack-ng for sniffing out wireless networks and basic cracking. He already had an Ubertooth One on hand (though they cost almost twice as much as the Pocket CHIP itself), so he added that, a Bluetooth dongle, and BlueHydra for attacking Bluetooth devices.

Next up was a bit of Linux customization and physical modifications. He switched out the splash screen for a bit of flavor, and changed the launch screen to easily start up the installed hacking software. The PocketCHIP only comes with one USB port, so adding a USB hub was the obvious next step. To counter fat-fingering the touch screen, he drilled a hole in the case for a standard stylus.

More software was then added, including: Mosh (a mobile-friendly SSH client), Hastebin for logging data, and Horst (a WiFi scanner and analyzer). He also wrote a script for quickly scanning the area to get a feel for the networks around him. The setup allows him to check out the surrounding networks, without looking too obvious in crowded areas.

With Bluetooth and WiFi out of the way, El Kentaro needed a way to work with RFID. Luckily, he had a forgotten Proxmark3 buried in his desk. The Proxmark3 is another expensive tool, but one which gives you everything you need to work with RFID. It can scan, crack, and reproduce RFID cards and tags, and emulate both the card and reader (or sniff communication between the two).

At this point, the Hack Chip was starting to resemble something out of Frankenstein’s lab. So, El Kentaro set out to clean up the device, and make it a bit less overt. With all of those devices strapped on, it needed some streamlining. Wireless charging was added (getting to the charging port was starting to become difficult). And, just for giggles, El Kentaro pulled out an endoscope and got it working nicely with the Hack Chip.

Now the Hack Chip has just about every hacking gadget and widget that can be feasibly strapped onto the device. But, El Kentaro isn’t quite done yet, and is making a companion for the Hack Chip. The buddy is a Raspberry Pi Zero drop box, which can be left behind to monitor a network that has been cracked with the Hack Chip. It will continue to log data and send it to the Hack Chip, and then be retrieved later.

Be sure to follow El Kentaro to see what’s next for the Hack Chip project!

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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