Super Small Device means Big Problems
As technology continues to evolve, we as people continue to show our preference for smaller and smaller tools. There was once a time when cell phones were the size of bricks, and CD players needed to be held with two hands. But in today’s world, we have the iPod, no thicker than a pencil, yet able to hold thousands of songs. And it seems that hackers have this same preference as well.
Kevin Bong is a security researcher who specializes in hacking and hacking devices. He works out of Wisconsin, and has introduced a powerful new hacking weapon to the world: the Mini Pwner. The Mini Pwner is not larger than a common smart phone, but has the capability to hack corporate networks and transfer all of the information it steals back to its home computer. Bong sells this incredible hacking tool for only $99, but also has instructions on how anyone can build one themselves from a few basic parts for only $40.
In hacking language, the term “pwn” means for someone or something to be successfully hacked or taken control of, as in “the network has been pwned.” Bonhg says that he has no harmful intentions with the Mini Pwner; rather he plans to use it to assist him in his hacking reports and tests performed for other companies to test their networks. “The easiest way to get into a company is still to walk in looking professional and talk your way into a wiring closet,” says Bong. “Once this thing is configured, you can plug it in to the network you’re attacking and connect back to the router itself from the parking lot.”
Once it’s plugged into an open ethernet port on a wall, in a server closet or even into one of a company’s IP phones, the Mini Pwner is designed to run simple scanning tools including Nmap and dSniff that allow a hacker to map out a company’s network and passively collect information. More importantly, it can create a VPN connection so that a nearby hacker can connect to the tiny router’s wifi signal, tunnel into the target network, and run hacking tools like Metasploit to gain further access. The battery pack offers at least four hours of hacking time, Bong says, but a USB port on the Pwner can also be hooked up to power the device indefinitely.
The Mini Pwner is hardly the only small, cheap spy computer available to digital intruders: Other slightly larger devices like the Pwnie Express or the F-BOMB are designed to be plugged into wall sockets, or in the latter case even thrown or dropped onto a target from a flying drone, tunneling out of the target’s own wifi network to reconnect to the hacker. The Wifi Pineapple, by contrast, creates a “honeypot” wireless signal that’s designed to tempt unsuspecting users, stealing their data when they connect to its network. And some penetration testing applications such as the Android Network Toolkit run on Android phones, allowing a hacker to merely walk into a building with a phone and run exploits targeting vulnerable machines