Crazyradio PA is a long range open USB radio dongle: a small piece of hardware for systems that require longer range than WiFi and doesn’t have the same requirements for bandwidth. This seemingly innocuous device is a great tool in physical hacking, which allows attacker inject keystrokes into most USB dongles, track the target’s keystrokes; perform denial-of-service attacks. Basically, it lets someone commandeer a computer from up to 75 meters away.
What makes this unintended physical hacking tool dangerous are not these features, but its easy availability. Like a scalpel that can save or harm a person, a range of hardware is available online, for cheap, from completely legit e-commerce websites.
The Cyber Express tried tracing the most popular ones online.
What are physical hacking tools?
Any specialized hardware whose features can be used to compromise the physical and network security of a system or a device can be called a physical hacking tool. Security professionals, ethical hackers, and researchers widely use them to test the security of a system and identify vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
Most of them are meant to serve a primary use, to aid a technology process, but the very same features are used for unintended purposes. Due to this ambiguity, many of these tools get passed through the wall of legal and ethical scrutiny and fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Most of them are easily available online on established ecommerce portals, many of them at bargain prices, all of them completely legit.
Take the case of the Flipper Zero, a multi-functional device developed for interaction with access control systems. It can detect and emulate radio-frequency tags, radio remotes, and digital access keys. It is a multi-tool that can be used for hacking access points.
Surprisingly, some explicitly malicious tools too make their way to mainstream e-commerce sites, such as the WiFi Deauther watch. Retailing between $50 to $130, this device can scan for nearby access points as well as the devices connected to them, can clone a Wi-Fi network, and even knock devices off the network.
We even found a device that can steal credit info and even open car doors for you, available for just $169.
Use and misuse
Tools like Flipper Zero, Hugging Face, Tep, and Animar 2.0 are often used by security professionals, ethical hackers, and researchers to test the security of a system and identify vulnerabilities that malicious hackers could exploit. There are many reasons why physical hacking tools exist and are used. Here are a few examples:
- To test the security of a system: Physical hacking tools are often used to test the security of a system or device to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This can help organizations and individuals identify and fix potential security issues before malicious hackers can exploit them.
- To bypass security measures: Physical hacking tools can be used to bypass security measures, such as locks or security cameras, to gain unauthorized access to a system or device.
- To gather information: Physical hacking tools can gather information about a system or device, such as its hardware and software configuration, which can be helpful in security research and analysis.
- To perform penetration testing: Physical hacking tools can be used in the context of penetration testing, a simulated cyber attack used to test the security of a system.
Overall, physical hacking tools are important tools used by security professionals and researchers to test the security of systems and devices, identify vulnerabilities, and protect against potential threats.
Popular hacking tools selling on e-commerce platforms
Ever wondered how hackers hack into someone’s Wi-Fi? Well, a device like HackRF One would get the job done. HackRF One is a small handy device used for testing, developing, and modifying contemporary RF (Radio Frequency) systems. It can transmit and receive radio signals from 1 MHz to 6 GHz and interact with Wi-Fi networks, radio stations, and even smartphones. Though it was supposed to be used as a pen tester tool, threat actors can use this device freely, considering it is available on surface-level websites.
Zigbee CC2531 Sniffer
As the name already suggests, Comidox Zigbee CC2531 Sniffer is a cheap alternative to large-scale cyber attacks and consumes fewer resources to sniff and decode the packets. It can create personal network areas and can be used to attack security systems and home automation systems. It can even target a group of devices connected to the same network. However, the only drawback of using Comidox Zigbee CC2531 Sniffer is that it requires a Zigbee Chipset-based device to perform its functions.
The Proxmark3 is another sniffing tool capable of reading and cloning RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. The tool works with Android devices and can be used to target RFID devices. Security researchers and testers use Proxmark3 as a pen testing tool, which can be easily carried in a pocket due to its small size.
Wi-Fi Deauther watch
Speaking of the devil, the Wi-Fi Deauther watch is the hottest hacking item on the market. This wrist watch can perform Wi-Fi hacking with a push of a few buttons, and works by removing the target user from their own wireless network and is forced to re-authenticate again. The device allows the person to perform brute force on the Wi-Fi work by using the time between the authentication and re-authentication to steal the WPA handshake.
USB Rubber Ducky
Do not mistake this for an ordinary USB drive! The USB rubber ducky looks like a USB drive and even has a plug-and-play interface, but it works as a HUD device. It poses as a keyboard or mouse and uses pre-written scripts that can collect credentials from resources, perform brute force attacks, copy files and various other things based on the scripts used while preparing the device.
The dark side of pen testing
Pen testing is often carried out by ethical hackers or security professionals who are hired by organizations to perform these tests in a controlled environment. However, there is a dark side to pen testing that malicious hackers can exploit. For example:
Pen testing can cover up illegal activities
Some malicious hackers may use pen testing to cover their illicit activities. For example, they may claim to be conducting a pen test when, in reality, they are stealing sensitive data or planting malware on a system.
Pen testing can be used to gain unauthorized access
Pen testing can be used to gain unauthorized access to a system or network, either through legitimate means (e.g., by exploiting a vulnerability that was identified during the test) or through illegal mechanism (e.g., by using a physical hacking tool to bypass security measures).
Pen testing can be used to disrupt services
In some cases, pen testing may involve intentionally disrupting services or causing damage to a system. This can have serious consequences, causing financial losses or damaging an organization’s reputation.
It is not necessarily the case that governments allow physical hacking tools to be sold on eCommerce websites. In many countries, the sale of physical hacking tools is regulated by law, and it may be illegal to sell or distribute them without proper authorization.
However, in most of the cases these physical hacking tools get market because of the ambiguity associated with its purposes. In some cases, they are simply sold as harmless electrical devices.