Tag Archives: USB

Raspberry Pi Toybox – The bits …

English: The Castel Sant'Angelo looms in the b...

English: The Castel Sant’Angelo looms in the background from a bridge overlooking the Tiber River in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it has all arrived ( Thank You Amazon ! ) and so here, without further ado, are the components:

I haven’t photographed them properly yet – [ I haven’t assembled them properly yet ! ] – but this is a rough look:*

DSC_0606_edited-1

The only things that I’m using other than the above are:

  • A Laptop1 with a SD Card Reader ( LINDY 46-in-1 PCMCIA Card Reader )
  • A keyboard and mouse (USB)
  • A monitor with an HDMI input
  • Elgato Game Capture HD ( See here for more information on this )
  • An 8GB Thinking Security USB Memory Stick
  • A 16GB SD card of one sort or another that I had lying around …

I’m planning using the Fedora 17 Remix – at least to start with – shouldn’t be a problem to obtain / compile pretty much anything to run on it ( famous last words those ! ). So seems like a reasonable way forward.

I’ve been a long time RedHat / Fedora fan – was my first Linux back in the day ( when RedHat was still free … I don’t recall, but probably RedHat 2.0 ) – I had it installed on my Pentium at University and used it, with a 14400 modem, to avoid the Edinburgh weather instead of having to go to the AI and CS labs for assignments … Sigh … The good old days …

Getting it onto the card is pretty straight forward, once you have your uncompressed image use Win32ImageWriter to write it to the card.2 This worked just fine, and booted up beautifully.

For screenshots & video of the Pi, I’m using the Elgato Game Capture HD ( see above ) – this works brilliantly, it has a USB connection to my laptop, an HDMI from the Pi and an HDMI to the monitor. It introduces no lag on the monitor side, but quite neatly captures – in full HD – the image on the way through. It’s a very neat way of getting screenshots off the Pi, which otherwise would prove a little troublesome. I’ve attached the video of the first boot ( and setup configuration ) below – more information and details will follow in due course !


*. The astute and keen eyed amongst you may have noticed that in this picture the two USB WiFi devices aren’t showing – that’s because they are currently in my Ubuntu PenTest laptop running aircrack-ng as a proof of concept for this project …

1. We’ve had some laptop issues at home, my other half’s MacBook Pro croaked – and seeing as I have an issued laptop from my current client, and she doesn’t – she’s taken my MacBook Pro with her SSD. I’ve spent the last few weeks turning an old Lenovo T61 into a usable computer again. First off – out with the old spinny platters and in with an SSD for the primary HD. Doubled the RAM again ( past the quoted manufacturer maximum ) to 8GB and got rid of the CD-RW drive ( never used it anyway ) and replaced it with a 750GB hybrid disk to hold my VM images, oh and, missing my screen real estate from my 17″ MBP I also acquired a portable Lenovo second screen – I really don’t know why I’ve not seen these around more – they are brilliant ! I’m not sure that I couldn’t have bought another laptop for the cost of all the upgrades, but – it was fun to do, and there is something quite stylish about the older Lenovos – that IBM feel still I think !3

2. Be prepared, this is a definite “cup of tea” part of the process. In my case unload and load the dish washer, make and drink cup of tea, have chat with Brother-in-Law on phone, get high score on Temple Run 2 and, finally, just to be sure, go and get the kids from school. But hey, it finished ! ( In all seriousness, I was getting about 1MB per second for 3GB – that’s about 50 minutes )

3. Slight update on the laptop front, picked up a sale Acer Aspire i3, 6GB RAM, 500GB HD which is currently running Ubuntu. Neat little bit of kit … Dirt cheap too !

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Raspberry Pi Toybox

Roman depiction of the Tiber as a river-god (T...

Roman depiction of the Tiber as a river-god (Tiberinus) with cornucopia at the Campidoglio, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I must admit a certain love for the Raspberry Pi – we have two in the house just now – one which was doing a service as an XMBC box onto the TV ( something it was OK at, but not great – now replaced by a PS3, which just works better and I can play BioShock1 on it too ) and a second which was left by Santa in order to take up a role as a Python training device for the smaller members of the household ( although, having discovered yesterday Raspberry Pi Assembly Language Beginners: Hands On Guide: 1 and RISC OS for Pi2 they may well find themselves learning Assembly instead ). With the retirement of the first Pi from media player duties though, I’ve started to contemplate what it might become – it doesn’t pack a huge amount of punch, but for all of that, it’s small, light and exceedingly power efficient – so much so, it is feasible to run it from batteries.

A few years ago I went through a similar Mini-ITX phase, building a small footprint machine which ran very serviceably ( and the components still do I believe –  they were carved up for an Arcade project which is still uncompleted [ although the controller with two good arcade joysticks and some good buttons to thump was running very nicely over USB with MAME and Gauntlet !  Anyhoo, I digress more than usual ] ) at the time I was frequenting the rather good Mini-ITX.com and enjoying their project pages ( sadly no longer updated much – they used to be fun … )  – they had a link to “The Janus Project” – a self-contained wireless security test rig in a Pelican case.

Now I always liked this idea, didn’t have the money or the time, but I thought it was cool. Well, time and technology wait for no man, and since then we have had much in the way of efficiency and miniaturisation, not to mention some much more refined ways of cracking WiFi. To this end, I have intent to build a mini-Janus, a son of Janus – “The Tiberinus3 Project” if you will.

Given that time has moved on so much though, I find, that I have an opportunity to work on a smaller scale, and to be portable … So to that end, I have started to assemble the parts – to wit :

  • 1 x Raspberry Pi, OS & SD Card
  • 1 x Power Source ( 12000mAH battery pack )
  • 1 x GPS dohicky
  • 2 x WiFi dohickys
  • 1 x 3G Modem
  • 1 x Waterproof Case
  • 1 x USB Hub

The idea is to contain all of the above in a box which will be self contained for a period ( 12000mah – not sure, but reckon in excess of 8 hours runtime, although that will depend on the peripherals … ) and to be fairly autonomous in the collection of data – e.g. while it is on, it will constantly seek out WiFi sources. This device can then be left comfortably on client site for a period to perform an unobtrusive wireless audit as part of a PenTest. There are currently two WiFi dongles on the list, rather simply one to scan and one to manage, although, depending on the power consumption, it may be possible to run more than two through a powered USB hub, or to run two in scanning mode and leaving management out of the issue, or possibly even use the 3G Modem over USB to provide managment, and use two to scan … All an experimental theory at the moment !

Obviously, you should try this at home – what’s the point in writing it up otherwise – but remember the various legal requirements surrounding ( in the UK4 at least ) the Computer Misuse Act – you shouldn’t make use of anyone’s computer systems without their prior authorisation.

Parts are on order, and I’ll update as things assemble ! ( For the record though, I’ve been looking at doing some of the development work on the QEMU Pi Emulator … Not sure how that’s going to pan out either … )


1.  A game I _really_ enjoy, although, like most games – I suck. I’ve also been infuriated by the constant delays surrounding BioShock Infinite which has switched from a birthday present to a Christmas present and back again since it was supposed to be released …

2. My Junior School had just switched to Archimedes computers when I left, the Senior was RM IBM drclones. I actually never really got to play with them properly, although they always held a certain fascination – I’ve eyed up various 2nd hand bits of kit in the Vintage section of E-Bay, and have even bid, but never to a winning outcome – the port to Pi has got me all of a flutter !

3. “One tradition states that he came from Thessaly and that he was welcomed by Camese in Latium, where they shared a kingdom. They married and had several children, among which the river god Tiberinus (after whom the river Tiber is named).” – Encyclopaedia Mythica – I would so love to claim I knew that, but it was Google.

4. Other countries are available, and I could even recommend one or two as being nice places to go. However, make sure that what you are doing is acceptable under your local jurisdiction – fines, prison or worse awaits those who overstep the mark.

 

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Elgato game capture HD – A quick review …

It’s been a bit of a perfect storm – the step up in blogging, my son’s birthday request and a review in the times – all within a few weeks of each other – has led me to buy an Elgato game capture HD. I wasn’t convinced that, as a life necessity, the need to record a kill streak on MW3, or, more to the point my son knifing me in the back yet again was really that great a plan – but when I discovered that this device was happy to accept any HDMI input, it started to gain ground. For some time I’ve been using the HDMI output from my MacMini, and a couple of laptops ( as well as the PS3 ) as the standard video/audio connection rather than faffing around with other connections, usually with far less successful results, so, as I had been thinking about capturing some video tutorials for the “Introduction to PenTesting” series that I’m running on Forensic Focus the Elgato gcHD seemed to be quite an interesting fit to the problem.

English: A standard HDMI connector for hooking...

English: A standard HDMI connector for hooking up audio/visual equipment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyhoo … I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s hard to get hold of – Amazon is Amazon as always, however there isn’t exactly a crowd of people trying to sell you one of these, so perhaps it is rather a niche market. There was a rather long lead time predicted ( 2 to 4 weeks ) although this seems to have disappeared, and, mine didn’t take that long to arrive in any case. When it did get here, I must admit to being rather surprised at how small it is. I don’t know what had given me the impression that it would be more substantial, but it is maybe 3.5″ by 2″ by 1″ of rounded shiny black plastic. Feels substantial enough. What was a pleasant surprise was that it comes with all the required cables – a short HDMI, an PS3 special cable, a composite cable and a USB cable – everything that you need as it requires no additional power beyond that drawn from the ports.

Connection is easy enough, provided you read the manuals – the device won’t work with the PS3 HDMI out for example, only the special cable – which did cause a little head scratching ! However that’s not what I was interested in – and I’ll let my son write and post a gaming perspective guest review shortly – for me I couldn’t wait to try it with a PC HDMI connection. My quick test rig is a Sony Vaio running Windows 7 with an HDMI out and my MacBook Pro taking the USB feed. The software isn’t included in the package – but is only a quick download from the Elgato website. There are both Mac and Windows versions ( so I may try this the other way round before long – I have a Mac MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adaptor cable ) and it took no time at all to download and install. The software isn’t very “feature rich”, but it is straightforward and easy to use.

Basic Recording Screen for Elgato game capture HD on MacOS X

There are a number of built-in submission tools for the likes of YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter but also for conversion to various “i” formats ( iPad, iPhone), e-mail, ProRes ( whatever that is … ) and just dumping them in your movies folder. I’ve not experimented with these yet, but I might have a go with the Twitter one at a later date. I think that the boy has ideas ( partially because I pointed them out to him when the times article quoted a £60,000 a month profit of online games review sites ) of uploading some things onto YouTube, again, I’ll let him address the effectiveness of this in his review.

Basic Editing Screen for Elgato game capture HD on MacOS X

Basic Editing Screen for Elgato game capture HD on MacOS X

I wasn’t that impressed with the editing features of the app, which are, to say the least, basic. I’m a long term Mac user though, and thus am not afraid to nip into the App store and put down some hard earned cash on an “i” app – a quick “iMovie” purchase later ( less than £11 ) and I was able to import the .m4v file for some more capability in post-production as it were.

All in all I’m impressed, I’ll update this as time goes on and there are actually some videos created that I’ve uploaded and might – very might – actually contain some real content …

Until such time, check this one out – this is the Mac with HDMI out, feeding back into itself …

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