I sat down with Jared Boone a local Portland hardware hacker to discuss HackRF, an open source project he has been working on with Michael Ossmann funded by DARPA. The combination of open source hardware and software will provide security researchers with a low cost tool to intercept and reverse engineer radio signals.
You could think of it like Wireshark for radio signals, enabling the ability to capture data packets across a wide range of frequencies (30MHz – 6GHz) giving it the capability to receive signals from popular devices including including cell phones (GSM), bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi and more. The tool is not only low cost in comparison to other USRPs (Universal Software Radio Peripherals), but also much more compact and portable, particularly for the range of frequencies it scans. The project will provide researchers with the ability to sniff out various communication protocols and analyze them for vulnerabilities.
It is no longer just Wi-Fi that security professionals need to be concerned with, but also the wide range of wireless consumer devices and protocols they use coming into their organization. Tools like HackRF will soon be part of hacker and penetration tester’s arsenal, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about.