The hardware hacker
, often called with a touch of romanticism “hacker” is in collective imagination, a pimply and sickly being who maintains an almost symbiotic relationship with his computer and leads onto the canvas a lawless existence. Although it is probably possible to find specimens that corroborate the stereotype, the world of hacking is complex, it has its own codes and contains within it a variety of trends and behaviors. However, what all hackers have in common is their love of tinkering and it is not limited to playing with lines of code.
Unknown to the general public, hardware hacking is to divert it from its primary function of electronic equipment. The hardware is the physical electronic medium, which allows to operate the software. Practicing hardware hacking thus requires a screwdriver and soldering irons as much as a computer keyboard.
It is important to understand that the “hacking part” is simply to divert the subject to use any other way or for reasons than those for which it was designed. These changes are in most cases perfectly innocent and often boil down to the “Do it yourself”, literally “Do it yourself”, that is to say, to build from various parts of objects that could be purchased in stores. The star of this practice is the open source system Arduino with a programmable microcontroller. Coupled with other components, this mini computer can create almost any electronic device , automatic garden sprinkler, joystick, and even for the most talented, robots capable of performing basic tasks.
But many hackers’ favorite game is to circumvent security systems and programs, often, indeed, for more than a challenge to derive any benefit. In this area, hardware hacking allows for disturbing gadgets you might expect from a spy movie. The ‘Wifi pineapple’ or ‘Pineapple wi-fi’ is a wireless router capable of providing an internet connection anywhere. Near this device, any device attempting to connect to a particular wireless network will connect to the place that the Wifi Pinneaple issues. The holder of the device can then launch attacks on connected devices or just access confidential information that will pass through the connection, passwords, for example.
The machine was invented by a team of hackers called Hak5. They inherited the name when inventors used to conceal the device in a plastic pineapple, before walking into airports, where everyone connects to the internet without any precaution. Today this technology is perfected and miniaturized especially with routers TP-Link WR703N, concealable anywhere. It is therefore theoretically possible for an average hacker to install a Wifi Pineapple in a strip or any other innocuous object. If the hacker in question had been concealed in a company, they may have access to all information passing through the network provided by the device. It would also have privileged access to launch cyber attacks on computers. The icing on the cake is, this kind device is very difficult to detect for any computer security specialist. A tool of choice for industrial espionage!