In many cases, smaller technology has helped us take our work with us and enjoy hours of entertainment in the palm of our hands. Now corporations need to be on the lookout for a small spy computer that can give hackers access to their networks. Small enough to fit into an Altoid tin, the spy computer connects to a corporate network and broadcasts a WiFi signal to the hacker.
What it is:
Developed by security researcher Kevin Bong, the spy computer named the Mini Pwner, is small enough to go unnoticed. Smaller than a smartphone, the computer can fit into an empty cigarette pack or a mint tin. After plugging the device into a corporate network’s Ethernet port, the computer feeds information back to the hacker via built in WiFi.
After connecting, the device will run network scanning tools to map out the network and gather information. With its built in WiFi, the hacker can connect with VPN, tunnel in and utilize other tools to gain even more access. This will open the network up for the hacker to access sensitive information like corporate account numbers, financial information of their clients, or even personal information of their employees. It will all be at the hackers fingertips.
The small computer consists of parts from a TP-Link router, a USB thumb drive, a battery pack and the open-source software OpenWrt. The battery pack offers up to 4 hours of hacking time, although the built in USB can be plugged in to power the computer and give constant access for the hacker.
All the parts needed cost under $40 and instructions are offered on Bong’s website for putting it together. If you choose you can even purchase the pre-built version for $99. Bong describes the mini-computer as a method for checking security holes within a network and designed it as a tool. What others do with the tiny spy computer is their responsibility.
Though most of the hacking will be done comfortably from the parking lot or coffee shop across the street from the network, it can only be used once it is plugged into the network. This can be done via open Ethernet ports, cable closets, or even an available IP phone connected to the network. As many hackers have perfected social engineering methods of walking into a company and accessing their networks, companies need to be more cautious of the people in the building. You never know who has a spy computer in their pocket.
Joshua Harper is a network administrator and tech blogger who writes reviews on networking connectors like Cisco’s GLC-SX-MM transceiver.