Lately I came back to reverse engineering project that I started few years ago. Direct reason for such a long break was being stuck at attempts in using usbmon to capture USB traffic. The traffic that I wanted to sniff was between router and modem that connects to it via USB. As is usual with this kind of devices there is no SDK available and compiling custom kernel module for such system, while has huge educational value, is most likely going to end up with failure. So definitely I needed another way around this problem. Fortunately I have DSLogic logic analyzer, that could easily record such a slow protocol as USB. Then a bit of exporting and you get pcap file for wireshark. This might sound like a simple task, but I am going to show that it is not necessarily is. Continue reading “Sniffing USB traffic with DSLogic logic analyzer into pcap file”
Unboxing, startup and first impression of Nezha board marketed as first affordable RISCV SBC
Some of you may have already heard about new RISCV board that popped up in China recently. It is called Nezha and is the first available SBC having new Allwinner D1 SoC with RISCV core and capable of running Linux. Authors are marketing it as first affordable RISCV Linux SBC and there is a lot of truth in these claims. Maybe this board cannot compete in any way with boards based on ARM Cortex A cores. On the other hand all previous RISCV offerings were in different galaxy in terms of price tag. $999 for Hifive Unleashed during its Crowdsupply campaign vs. $99 for Nezha on Indiegogo. They even claimed to go down as low as to $12, but as they say global supply chain problems made it impossible for now. We have to wait for all this pandemic troubles to end to check, if these claims could be verified by facts. Continue reading “Unboxing, startup and first impression of Nezha board marketed as first affordable RISCV SBC”
My small library of KiCAD footprints
This time just a quick info. I just published library of KiCAD footprints that I made recently for my new project. The project itself has not been published yet and I want to keep it that way until I get first working prototype (what I hope will happen really soon). Meanwhile I am publishing this small library of footprints that I made for it with perspective of extending it in future with other hardware projects.
Still this is quite new topic for me as I have no electronics education, nor professional experience, so there is still a risk that I may fail at what I do and abandon such kind of projects. But for now, I just finished validation of footprints published here with a board that I ordered from JLCPCB, so you are guaranteed that they are fine (except one marked explicitly as such). Continue reading “My small library of KiCAD footprints”
Creating one-file Linux distribution with docker
Few months ago I wrote a tutorial about creating Linux distribution consisting of just busybox as its userspace. In the meantime I worked a bit with docker and it sounded like nice next step in learning docker to automate the process of creating Linux distribution using it. As a result, today I present Linux distribution built with docker and based on my previous tutorial. I called it busy-linux due to it consisting of only busybox at the moment. My plan is to develop it further, most likely for private purposes only, so there might not be much happening in the project, but for sure I want to create dynamically linked variant in the near future, as this is what my use case requires. In the meantime feel free to try it yourself. Continue reading “Creating one-file Linux distribution with docker”
Hacking Android’s Bluetooth application to receive any file (outside whitelist)
Bluetooth application in AOSP hardcodes strange constraint in form of whitelist of MIME types that are allowed to be received. Also LineageOS seems to have that code compiled for some reason. There is no other way to allow any file transfer than to make your own Bluetooth apk and install it. In this tutorial I will show how to recompile APK and install it in system.
Before I start I have to warn anybody trying to follow the tutorial: THERE IS NO WARRANTY THAT THIS METHOD WILL WORK, I am not responsible for bootloops, broken Bluetooth or any other harm made to your device. You, and only you are responsible for your device, so don’t do it, if you don’t know what you’re doing! Continue reading “Hacking Android’s Bluetooth application to receive any file (outside whitelist)”
How Android smartphone is spying on you?
The fact that Android knows a lot about its user and don’t keep that information for itself is quite well known. But how much data is sent to the outside world on first connection to WiFi? Which apps are responsible for pushing the data into the web? I will try to show that on example of Xiaomi Redmi Go.
For the purpose of the test, I created network that is not forwarding any packet outside. Before performing the test I installed few APKs. Only one is known to contact strange servers – File Manager (com.rhmsoft.fm). I marked them with (*) on a list. Rest should not have any influence on the results. They were: Termux, AFWall+, F-Droid, Magisk and Aurora Store. Continue reading “How Android smartphone is spying on you?”
Printing pictures like its 1873 using Oki 3321 dot-matrix printer
Long, long time ago, before prices of inkjet and laser printers fell to levels allowing home users to own and use them, there was a primitive printing technology called dot-matrix. As any technology of the past, it is not competitive anymore. However it still has few advantages and one of them is reliability of these devices. Some time ago I found quite a cheap Oki 3321 printer that has 9 pin head and is capable of printing on A3 paper in portrait orientation. Usual mode of printing for these devices was simple text mode, where you just were writing your text in ASCII (or any weird coding popular in your country of origin) to its parallel port. Fortunately these printers usually had also graphic mode, where you could fully use capabilities of the device.
I already was experimenting some time with my device, so I already know it uses Mazovia variant (with zł as single glyph) as its codepage. I was also able to guess how to switch into graphic mode, so in theory I was able to print images for some time. Unfortunately any CUPS drivers I used did not provide acceptable results, so all I could do was to write some support tool myself. Continue reading “Printing pictures like its 1873 using Oki 3321 dot-matrix printer”
mhz14a – program for managing MH-Z14/MH-Z14A CO2 sensors via UART
When I have seen CO2 sensor for the first time, it was quite expensive device. Well, if one want to buy consumer device these days, it still could cost a lot. However in the days of cheap Chinese electronics sellers on biggest auction platforms, for makers, situation is quite different now. MH-Z14 is the cheapest CO2 sensor I was able to find. I costs about $19 and comes in few variants: MH-Z14 and MH-Z14A. Also it can measure up to 1000 ppm, up to 2000 ppm or up to 5000 ppm. However the range does not matter in practice, as it is possible to switch between them using UART.
The device interfaces are quite flexible for such a cheap device, as beside mentioned UART port it provides PWM and analog output. However, I was not able to measure valid value using analog and my cheap multimeter. Maybe some more sophisticated equipment is required for that.
I have to make one note here: device I bought is labeled as MH-Z14A and its range is 0-5000 ppm. Other variants might have different features. For mine, there is no UART protocol documentation. Yet, protocol documented under name MH-Z14 works, so be careful. Continue reading “mhz14a – program for managing MH-Z14/MH-Z14A CO2 sensors via UART”
SADVE – tiny program for computing #define values
While tinkering with spy camera, I found one detail that is significantly slowing the process of reverse engineering and debugging the applications, installed on its embedded Linux platform – finding final values of preprocessor directives and sometimes also results of
As I am not aware of any existing solution for that problem (I guess there might be some included in one of the more sophisticated IDEs, however I use Vim for development) it is good reason to create one. By the way I used cmake template I published some days ago to bootstrap the project. Continue reading “SADVE – tiny program for computing #define values”
USB to serial converter drivers for Android revisited
Few years ago I compiled kernel drivers of cheap USB-to-serial converter for my previous Android phone. It took few years of using new phone, without single custom-compiled kernel module. Now it is time to change it. By the way, I am going to describe what changed and what hacks have to be made to make the process work on stock ROM, provided by Sony.
kernel is the key
First of all, we need kernel. To be precise, kernel sources. Without that, it is really hard to be successful (I don’t want to tell it is impossible, but really hard, believe me). Because Sony is very liberal in terms of cooperation with community, they provide anything required to tinker with the device (obviously together with caution message about warranty loss, but who cares, right? 🙂 ).
First of all, we need to know, which firmware version the device uses. To be found in Android settings, as compilation number, or something like that. For me, it is 23.5.A.0.575. Then, we have to visit Open Devices downloads section and find our firmware. For me, it was a lot of scrolling, as I have no updates available for quite some time. Inside the package, there should be kernel directory, with complete kernel sources. Continue reading “USB to serial converter drivers for Android revisited”