Hardware Hacking Explained

Hardware hacking involves altering existing electronics in order to use it for purposes not originally intended by its original designer. This may involve altering its enclosure, physical properties or behavioral characteristics.

Hackers looking to steal data can bypass security measures by accessing the JTAG port – a debugging interface on printed circuit boards – and accessing firmware written in hex code on any microcontrollers present on them.

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer capable of running various hacking tools. Due to its versatility, it can be used for everything from cracking Wi-Fi networks and password testing, to discreetly hiding its presence.

This device was created by the Raspberry Foundation, a UK-based nonprofit which strives to increase tech literacy and make computing accessible to people from all backgrounds. First released for sale in 2012, several iterations since have taken place.

In 2018, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ was unveiled, boasting an improved CPU over previous models and including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet for connectivity. Ideal for beginners learning ethical hacking on a budget; running Kali Linux kernel it allows network attacks as well as testing security systems.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo smart speakers have quickly become incredibly popular smart home devices and a potential target of hackers who seek to compromise privacy. A woman in Harrison City, Pennsylvania recently reported her Alexa was stolen and used by someone on her home network to send inappropriate photos and videos out.

White hat hackers recently presented at DEFCON conference how they used firmware hacks to convert an Echo into a spying bug and listen in on everything it hears, including devices on its local area network (LAN), before relaying that data somewhere else on another computer terminal terminal.

Amazon has since addressed this issue and Echo devices come equipped with a “mute button,” so users looking to protect their privacy can use it to stop transmitting any audio through microphone. But it serves as a stark reminder that Internet of Things security may not always be 100% reliable.

Google Home Mini

Researchers demonstrated how to hack Google Home smart speakers this week at Black Hat USA in Las Vegas. Their hack involved running remote code onto devices and exploiting Megellan vulnerability.

According to Bleeping Computer, researcher Matt Kunze was playing around with a Google Home Mini when he discovered that adding accounts was easy enough for him to turn it into a microphone-equipped spy tool. By linking it directly with his account, Kunze gained control over everything happening within a room through his speaker – including hearing any conversations taking place there!

He discovered this and reported it to Google in January 2021; they responded quickly by paying out a bug bounty and fixing the issue in April of that same year.

Google Home exposes its setup network via mDNS, providing threat actors access to it to request device name, certificate and cloud_device_id for linking their own account with the device – thus giving them access to play music, make calls or use its microphone in routines that spy on victims.

Leap Motion

After successfully weathering executive departures and failed sales to Apple, Leap Motion motion sensor creators are back pushing boundaries of gesture-based augmented reality with experimental features that enable developers to do just that. This week they released such features.

Leap Motion is a micro device designed to track finger and hand movements in 3D space. Similar to Kinect technology, its function extends further.

Hacker Robert Lach was able to use Leap technology to control a robot hand without gloves. Although not an extremely complex process, an algorithm must translate hand gestures into commands the robot can interpret. Still, it was very impressive seeing what this type of tech could accomplish!

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