Hacking the Kingston Wi-Drive

[Andrew] got his hands on a Kingston Wi-Drive, and being the responsible Hackaday reader he is, spent the better part of a weekend figuring out how to get root on this shiny new toy

The Kingston Wi-Drive is a small battery-powered Flash drive with a wi-fi adapter in a small, compact case. Even though Kingston is going after a fairly niche market by advertising the Wi-Drive to expand the storage of iOS and Android devices, a network attached storage solution that can fit in a pocket is somewhat interesting. Unfortunately, Kingston decided to lock down the Wi-Drive; [Andrew] can’t even get a terminal running on this little box.

After a weekend, [Andrew] is no closer to his goal of getting root on the Wi-Drive. He suspects the problem may be there simply isn’t a terminal for Telnet to bind to. [Andrew] realized he was a bit out of his league on this hack and decided to open up his research to people much more experienced in embedded Linux environments. If you’ve been playing around with a Wi-Drive, or you want a tiny battery-powered NAS, send us something on the tip line and we’ll follow up on this post.

Comments

  1. fartface says:

    I wish these things were more useful. 250gig and can be accessed as a SMB share from a laptop? Great idea. 32 gig for a ipad? what a waste, I’ve already got 64 gig in there, I’m looking to carry a lot more or have a pocket wifi file server so I can have a friend copy all the latest ios’s I found to his laptop.

    Anyone know of a larger unit that takes real laptop hard drives and has the wifi part?

    • Hitek146 says:

      Hard drives need to spin up and spin down, and require alot more current to operate than solid state storage devices. Obviously, this unit’s storage circuits should only draw more than a few milliamps of current when it is being accessed, while the mechanical hard disk drive would require current during spin up and access. For a small battery powered device, it wouldn’t make much sense if you wanted to be able to instantaneously access data at will. A standard HDD might work if you are prepared cache the full file(movie or song) you were accessing, but that all seems somewhat inconvenient…

    • John O. says:

      AirStash – a bit pricy $150.00, but runs using SDHC cards up to 128GB

      • Edward Becerra says:

        Actually, I recall reading something at the AirStash website that given a ROM update, it will be able to support the SDXC format, up to two terabytes.

  2. Hackerspacer says:

    Man doesn’t hack anything. Gets a post about how he did not in fact hack anything. But he is still trying to hack it. He may succeed. But he has not done so yet. But this is still hack worthy. Or something.

    I mean, hacking this is cool and I encourage him to do so but err… he hasn’t actually been able to do so yet? Isn’t the format of Hackaday to exhibit and show off actual finished or nearly finished hacks?

    • Erik Johansson says:

      Apparently he found out how to run commands on it so he really did hack it. The problem was finding stuff that he could execute.

      He actually did something and documented it that is really worth something. I think it was an interesting try, and hope someone can make something more out of it.

    • Jarel says:

      Totally agree. I was super disappointed after reading this article. My brother has one of these and I was hoping I could help save him from his rather unfortunate purchase.

    • TheInternet says:

      Sounds like he hacked it as well as he could, and I think this post is useful.

      Maybe someone has gone further or can go further and they will respond or merge efforts.

    • Kris Lee says:

      Stop whining!!!

      This is what we lack everywhere. Documented observations.

      Many can do various interesting sh*t but few dare to document it.

  3. Andreas says:

    The Airstash is the original such device, and supports SDHC/SDXC cards instead of having a set amount of storage. Probably easier to hack too, at least it has more features as you can upload files to it from the iPad and other devices instead of just accessing files. There are hrd drives out there too though, seagate has one, goflex satellite

  4. PG says:

    I love how outside companies have to produce products to overcome the shortcomings(features)of Apple products.

    Re-moveable storage, no we can’t have that. Why not drag the floppy into the garbage can to eject it, Mac – Think way different.

  5. Gdogg says:

    Send one to sprite_tm for 6 hours. It’ll get hacked.

    • Sprite_tm says:

      Shouldn’t be too hard actually, sounds like the scripts can be used to copy over both a telnet server and a login shell. If the device was ten euro instead of 50, I’d buy one just for the hell of it.

      • AndroidCat says:

        @Sprite_tm It came out last year, so likely it’ll be heading to the discount warehouse stores soon. The trick is to snag them at the right price before the stock runs out…

    • soopergooman says:

      i have a rogers mifi one of them novatel wireless 3g/wifi portable hubs. very similar in design. would love a hack t use it as a repeater for my own network. id send it to you but you’d have to guarentee its return. with an affidavit or something guaranteeing it.

      • Sprite_tm says:

        Can’t guarantee a return in working condition, sorry. One of the first things I’d do is try to find the serial/jtag-port, which is hardware work and would mean a chance of destroying it. Even if i weren’t to do that, there’s always a chance of writing to the wrong part of flash and overwriting the bootloader, bricking the thing.

      • gbsd says:

        you don;t really understand how the process works my friend :) Destruction is almost guaranteed as part of the learning process. We generally break stuff as much as we succeed – we either learn from it (a bricked device is a valid scientific result) and then usually strip it for useable parts to recover the financial loss. Nothing is wasted, most is recycled into future projects. Benevolent gifting is the norm if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, do it yourself(!) or offer to test embryonic hacks (like beta testing) on your own hardware at your own risk.
        In this way history is written. We shall prevail against the ever-rising tide of over-marketed super-shyte that ovewhelms us nowadays.

  6. Dstrcto says:

    The goflex satellite has a terrible stock interface but has a 500GB internal drive, runs for 7 hours, supports wifi pass-through, and runs linux (so you can smb that mofo). Enough people have hacked it that it’s pretty easy and well documented on seagate’s support forum. Probably not worth the $199.99 though…

  7. i was able to get it to almost a webserver but i need help with the part about .shtml something about needing a style script also when it reboots any work save in config is saved compared against the cd filesystem any files extra in config get wiped.

    • Spode says:

      Yeah /config gets wiped everytime you reboot. You can over come this by replace the script on the CD partition. Takes 5 minutes with a hex editor and a copy of the CD Updater.

      However, this isn’t necessary as the whole drive is accessible on the web server (I know right!) – so just stick the script on the root of your drive and it’ll work fine :)

      I think some people didn’t read the whole post (can’t expect that) – but I did get Busybox with telnet on there, but couldn’t get it to work, rather frustratingly.

      I’m not sure the JTAG route is even necessary – I backed up the firmware pretty easily, and if I could have mounted the JFFS2 partition, then I could modify and reflash pretty easily without resorting to cracking the thing open. You could also do the actual flash using an .shtml file – so if done, it would be a very very simple firmware hack.

      Spode – the author

  8. keastes says:

    well looking at his write up, the CPU used is the RTL8196C, and openWRT has a (mostly?) working port, so why not try flashing that to it?

  9. echodelta says:

    NAS the genie about to get into your bottle.

  10. HackJack says:
  11. HackJack says:

    Would be a nice companion for my kindle fire (mounted in the car)

  12. Pat says:

    If it’s running Linux with samba he could use this bug http://www.samba.org/samba/security/CVE-2012-1182 to run his own code.

  13. hardcore says:

    Send me a device…….

  14. bfo says:

    Would it be possible when rooted, to make it work with some other drives, that are larger, like WD Passport series! :S

  15. anonymous Gort says:

    Wi-Drive Source Code “The GPL allows you to freely copy, modify and redistribute that software”

    http://www.kingston.com/us/support/technical/products?model=wid

    Am not a good programer , but this may help.

  16. syliss says:

    Im just wondering if someone has opened one up yet. Maybe extend the battery and find a way to add more storage. The seagate drive is a lot bigger and a lot more expensive.

    • jimbo says:

      I opened mine up- the case is hard to open without damaging it. I didn’t care about a few dents and scratches. The internal 16GB drive is attached to a USB port and is removable. I had a spare 64GB pen drive that I stripped from its case so that it would fit inside the Wi-Drive. I managed to get it working eventually despite the lack of help online.

      The original 16GB drive when inserted into a PC mounts as a virtual DVD drive that contains the software and the storage partition.
      The self mounting DVD isn’t writable nor can you delete it.
      So to create a self mounting DVD drive on the 64GB stick I re-programed the flash controller and made a self mounting DVD drive partition.

  17. xorpunk says:

    get or make an ARM device with a wifi SoC and SD slot.. or even better USB host contol. This thing is way to expensive hence why nobody cares if it is hacked, much like linear purpose gaming consoles..

  18. Riycou says:

    Yah this thing gets me. dang apache2 server. I just want to make it an web site terminal because it could be considered going green but mainly because some times the thing needs work and uptime is important. Any help or suggestions on how to do would be awesome also you can map the drive is network sorage thats how i accessed it over wifi and played with it also turn it on then let it load up and you can plug it in to the wall adpter and keep it on and running.

  19. AndroidCat says:

    A tiny portable WiFi Apache server? Hmm. There have been times when I’ve wanted one of those for event information sites to cover a small location. i.e. a campsite, where lugging even a netbook would be painful.

    As I understand, this unit could also act as a relay to extend the coverage of an actual Internet AP. Bonus! (Although an external antenna hack might be useful.)

    Even if it can’t be hacked wide open, there could be some interesting re-purposing possible.

  20. Riycou says:

    Just saying but i really wish someone would crack one open possible the 16gb model. It would help to know whats in it and possibly upgrade the storage? It could have clips around it that hold it tightly.

  21. naviathan says:

    This thing doesn’t seem overly difficult, although a peep show would be nice so we can check for headers to wire into or flash chips for firmware.

  22. jimbojonez says:

    i own this thing and just want to allow computers to access its contents. the network it creates shows up on computers but it cannot be accessed… has anyone figured this out yet? i bought it to share files in the classroom without involving wires but it does not do what i thought it did.

  23. Scott Pettersen says:

    I found a way to hack the Kingston Wi Drive.
    I have been trying to figure out a way to add files to my Kingston Wi Drive without a PC or Laptop, since I don’t travel with my Laptop much.

    Found your post among a few others and I decided to play around with it.

    I connected my Android phone to the Wi Drive wireless.
    Then I used an App call WiFi Analyzer to look at the connection.
    I found a few IP addresses: IP Address:192.168.200.100 did NOT Work!
    but I used the IP with the following headings worked
    Gateway:192.168.200.254
    DNS1:192.168.200.254,
    Server:192.168.200.254

    I then opened the file Explorer called ES File Explorer and add a network FTP then WEBDAV and used the 192.168.200.254 with the default Port 80
    and was then able to use it as another drive. Upload/Download. etc.

    I am not very well versed in Networking but I am learning and try to experiment and re-purpose everything.

    I hope this helps you.

    The Config IP is also the same when you go into settings with the Wi Drive APP

    http://192.168.200.254/config/en-us/k_config.shtml

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