DIY Hardware Implant talk at DEF CON time is posted

My DEF CON 22 Talk, NSA Playset: DIY WAGONBED Hardware Implant over I2C, time is now posted on the DEF CON schedule. It’s Sunday at 11:00 am in Track 1. Be sure to stay for the NSA Playset: GSM Sniffing directly following!

The NSA Playset talks have been receiving some attention in the press. You don’t want to miss them!


In this talk we present an open source hardware version of the NSA’s hardware trojan codenamed WAGONBED. From the leaked NSA ANT catalog, WAGONBED is described as a malicious hardware device that is connected to a server’s I2C bus. Other exploits, like IRONCHEF, install a software exploit that exfiltrate data to the WAGONBED device. Once implanted, the WAGONBED device is connected to a GSM module to produce the NSA’s dubbed CROSSBEAM attack.

We present CHUCKWAGON, an open source hardware device that attaches to the I2C bus. With the CHUCKWAGON adapter, we show how to attach an embedded device, like a BeagleBone, to create your own hardware implant. We show how to add a GSM module to CHUCKWAGON to provide the hardware for the CROSSBEAM exploit. We improve the WAGONBED implant concept by using a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to protect data collection from the target. The talk will demonstrate how these features can be used for good, and evil!

CryptoCape screen casts are posted

After months of work, the CryptoCape is now available at SparkFun Electronics. This cape adds a bunch of security features to the BeagleBone Black. There are seven independent ICs on that board that are connected over I2C. Each IC has a range of features as such, there’s a lot one can do with this hardware. For those who like to read, check out the hookup guide for examples and a walk-through. If you want to listen and watch an off-the-cuff screencast of me performing at demo, check out these screencasts.

Me with the CryptoCape and a good German Beer.
Me with the CryptoCape and a good German Beer.

I’m very grateful to SparkFun for supporting this idea. I approached them with this idea and applied for their Hacker-in-Residence program. Back then, SparkFun was still calling “capes” “shields”. Now they have a slick BeagleBone Proto Cape in addition to mine, so I’d like to think I helped them get more into the BeagleBone šŸ™‚

I’ve been having a lot of fun with this cape. Of course, I like the security ICs and written a few drivers for them. Even if you are not into security, the onboard ATmega is really fun. It can be flashed from the BeagleBone so you can combine Arduino projects with the Beagle!

I have a few boards on Tindie, that I hand assemble, but this is the first device that’s being professionally manufactured. This is the first, of hopefully more, open source hardware security devices from Cryptotronix. I have a few projects spinning now, but if you support open source hardware, and want to add some hardware security, feel free to contact me.

I’ll be talking more about the CryptoCape, how I got into this, and some project ideas at HOPE X in NYC this summer.

For those with a darker color hat, my DEF CON 22 talk was recently accepted. Once the abstract is posted on the speaker page I’ll announce that here. <evil grin>

Change to the BeagleBone Flasher image

For those that use the BeagleBone flasher images there was a recent change posted. For new images, the four LEDs will be OFF when the flashing is complete. Previously, they were all on.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to include a picture of unlit LEDs. Consider this journalistic proof of what LEDs look like when they are off.
I’m not sure why I felt the need to include a picture of unlit LEDs. Consider this journalistic proof of what LEDs look like when they are off.

The change will improve the reliability of the micro SD card you use to flash the Beagle as the board will now be shutdown by the flasher script. Most of the blogs and instructions out there will say wait for all four LEDs to be illuminated when done. However, the reference instructions has always been at the eLinux Beagle Board Debian site.

The latest images are available from When you flash your new Rev C, keep in mind this change!

Running a Tor Relay on the BeagleBone Black for about a year

I have been running a Tor relay on a BeagleBone Black since last August. It’s been reset twice. Once after Heartbleed, which effectively destroyed the uptime calculation since it looks like a new relay. The other was when I accidentally unplugged it.

Bandwidth graph on my BBB for the last month from Tor Atlas
Bandwidth graph on my BBB for the last month from Tor Atlas

Continue reading “Running a Tor Relay on the BeagleBone Black for about a year”

I’m speaking at Hope X!

I’m speaking at Hope X!

I was selected to talk at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference this July 18th-20th in NYC! The talk is Friday, 9pm, in Olson. I’m honored and super excited to tell everybody about the Open Source Hardware hacking I’ve been doing for the last few months. I attended HOPE 9 and it was filled with some very high quality talks; too many to attend. I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the speaker list.

The title of my talk is: Crypto for Makers: Projects for the BeagleBone, Pi, and AVRs and below is the summary which I submitted. If you have been following my blog, or my company, you should have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to talk about.

The main conference website is here and you can still buy tickets here. The keynote speaker is Daniel Ellsberg, the man behind the Pentagon Papers. I hope I don’t have to speak in his time slot. See you in NYC!

As more devices join the Internet of Things, it is increasingly important that these devices remain protected from surveillance and compromise. This talk will show how to add specialized, commercially available, crypto Integrated Circuits (ICs) to improve the security of your BeagleBone, Pi, or AVR based platform. ICs such as a Trusted Platform Module, I2C authentication chips, and hardware random number generators will be discussed. The CryptoCape, an Open Source Hardware daughterboard, made in collaboration between SparkFun Electronics and Josh, will be presented in detail. Lastly, this talk will describe the experience of running a Tor relay on a BeagleBone Black for over 200 days.

I will also have a booth at the Denver Mini-Maker Faire in early May if you are in the area.

Maker Show and Tell at Aleph Objects

Maker Show and Tell at Aleph Objects

Yesterday I presented at Loveland CreatorSpace’s Make Show and Tell hosted by Aleph Objects. As always, I was impressed by everybody’s projects. There was a decent non-member showing as well as the word is getting out about LCS. By the way, we have a physical space now.

Talking about the CryptoCape
Talking about the CryptoCape

Midway through the show-and-tell we receive a tour of Aleph Objects and saw the massive 3D printer array, which is printing parts for more 3D printers. Aleph gives tours frequently so if you are in the Northern Colorado area, you should really check it out.

The early cryptocape.  Made on a prototype SparkFun breadboard
The early cryptocape. Made on a prototype SparkFun breadboard

I was there talking about the CryptoCape and I had brought the first prototype with me. The board has certainly come a long way and there is plenty more to do. I really wanted a crypto board that was hacker-friendly and could be extended in various projects. I keep thinking about new ways to use the cape and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for people.

In other news, tomorrow is Arduino Day. Swing by SparkFun and pick up some discount Arduinos! I have my eyes set on the pro Minis.

My top eBooks picks from Packt

My top eBooks picks from Packt

Packt Publishing is offering a buy one, get one free deal on eBooks until March 26th. What I like about Packt is that they have some very niche books, like a book on Gnucash! I was curious about what other books they had and I made a list of my favorites below.


Packt has three books on the BeagleBone listed below. They all look a good source for BeagleBone project ideas if you are looking for a next project.

Raspberry Pi

Security / Networking

  • CISSP in 21 Days: During breaks in my graduate program1, when I haven’t had a test for a while, I sometimes feel the urge to take a test and this one is usually on the list.

  • Traffic Analysis with Tshark How-to: Wireshark rocks; Tshark is wireshark on the command line, which rocks more.

Functional Programming

Packt seems to have a number of books on Clojure2 and the following looked interesting:


  1. Only one class left! 

  2. I actually searched “lisp”, but I’ll take Clojure. 
  3. I can never remember the find syntax. I do use zsh’s echo **/*.pattern a lot. 
  4. Leslie Lamport, the main developer behind \LaTeX, has been recently awarded the ACM Turing Award 

Upgrade the BeagleBone Black to kernel version 3.13

Upgrade the BeagleBone Black to kernel version 3.13

The current shipping kernel version of the BeagleBone Black is 3.8. However, it is fairly easy to upgrade to 3.13 with the help of Robert Nelson’s scripts. Why upgrade to 3.13? Well, mainly because the support for the OMAP hardware random number generator, OMAP crypto accelerators, and TPM support are available. The TI crypto hardware (hwrng and AES, MD5, and SHA accelerators) are enabled by default in the BeagleBoard images. To enable I2C TPM support, we need to configure the kernel. The CryptoCape, which will be soon available at SparkFun Electronics, will have the Atmel 1.2 TPM.

There are three parts to this post. The first is how to flash Debian to the eMMC. This is not technically a prerequisite, but I keep looking this information up all over the web and I finally decided to write it down. This is how I setup all of my BBBs. The second section is how to use the scripts to quickly upgrade to the 3.13. The last section shows how to customize the kernel and add TPM support.
Continue reading “Upgrade the BeagleBone Black to kernel version 3.13”