Every year, security researchers, hardware hackers and other deep geeks from around the world converge on an English nature reserve for Electromagnetic Field, a hacker campout where participants show off and discuss their research and creations.
This year's campout featured attendee badges that doubled as fully functional open source hardware/free software cellular phones, able to make and receive calls and texts.
Also at the campout -- but unannounced -- was someone's DIY IMSI Catcher (AKA a "stingray), a surveillance device that masquerades as a cellular tower and tricks nearby phones into connecting to it so it can spy on the phone's owner. Stingrays' existence was once a closely-guarded secret, known only to law enforcement officers who routinely lied about how they were able to build cases against the people they arrested. Once a jailhouse researcher discovered that stingrays were used to uncover his identity and make the case against him, their existence became broadly known, even as their use metastasized and variants, like the Dirtbox, found their way onto the undercarriages of low-flying aircraft that constantly crisscross city skies.
IMSI catching and its countermeasures are of intense interest to security researchers and privacy advocates.
Attendees at EMF learned that one of their number had homebrewed an IMSI catcher when they started receiving SMS messages reading "Oh noez! You’re connected to an Evil Twin network!"
And the EMF badge is really no different from phones an IMSI catcher may normally target. Dubbed the TiLDA Mk4, the badge “allows you to make and receive calls, send text messages, and use data anywhere in the world. At camp it’s a fun toy, but when you leave it’s perfect for remote IoT [Internet of Things] connectivity,” a post on the EMF website reads.
Hacker Camp Makes DIY Phones, Is Bombarded by DIY IMSI Catcher [Joseph Cox/Motherboard]
Facelesstech created a fun pair of "smart glasses" with an embedded a miniature attiny85 Arduino controller, and followed it up with a pair that concealed a TV-B-Gone (Mitch Altman's open source hardware gadget that cycles through all known switch-TV-off codes, causing any nearby screens to go black). It's a much less creepy use than the […]
Phil from Adafruit writes, "For a limited time, whenever you buy a Circuit Playground Express the regular price of $24.95 here, on this page, Adafruit will automatically donate one to Black Girls CODE. Black Girls CODE's goal is to empower young women of color ages 7-17 to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders + […]
Phil Torrone from Adafruit writes, "Why roam around with a boring pumpkin bucket when you collect delicious candy with a robotic Xenomorph head? This robotic candy bucket shoots out a small receptacle to retrieve candy and bring it back into the bucket. Some 3D printing is required to create the linear actuator. Two servo motors […]
Gather round, young and old — and hear tales of bygone days. Back in olden times, citizens would mass at a house of coffee, wherein skilled java alchemists would concoct special blends and apply artisanal wizardry to make each steaming chalice an appointment for the taste buds. Granted, said wizards, once known as baristas, were […]
The last few weeks have given us all a lot to think about. As we watched stores close, Costco lines snake through parking lots and items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper disappear everywhere like they were Lady Gaga tickets, there’s one significant takeaway it’s safe to say we all can agree on. We should […]
Whether it was Bach or Chopin, Ray Charles or Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Alicia Keys or Norah Jones, there was someone whose mastery on the piano made you think, wow, I wish I knew how to do that. It’s a singular, almost timeless skill — and if you love music, there’s no […]