IDE bus sniffing and hard drive password recovery

hdd_password_recovery

shackspace member [@dop3j0e] found himself in a real bind when trying to recover some data after his ThinkPad’s fingerprint scanner died. You see, he stored his hard drive password in the scanner, and over time completely forgot what it was. Once the scanner stopped working, he had no way to get at his data.

He brainstormed, trying to figure out the best way to recover his data. He considered reverse engineering the BIOS, which was an interesting exercise, but it did not yield any password data. He also thought about swapping the hard drive’s logic board with that of a similar drive, but it turns out that the password is stored on the platters, not the PCB.

With his options quickly running out, he turned to a piece of open-source hardware we’ve covered here in the past, the OpenBench Logic Sniffer. The IDE bus contains 16 data pins, and lucky for [@dop3j0e] the OpenBench has 16 5v pins as well – a perfect match. He wired the sniffer up to the laptop and booted the computer, watching SUMP for the unlock command to be issued. Sure enough he captured the password with ease, after which he unlocked and permanently removed it using hdparm.

Be sure to check out [@dop3j0e’s] presentation on the subject if you are interested in learning more about how the recovery was done.

Public transportation notifier

[Knuckles904] was tired of waiting for the bus. His town had installed GPS units on the buses so that riders could track their locations via the Internet so he knew there should be a way to avoid the wait while also never missing the bus. He developed a sketch for an Arduino to check the bus location and notify him when it was on its way.

This method saves him from leaving his computer running. It parses the text data from the public transportation website and updates both an LED display, as well as a Twitter feed. Now he can monitor several different bus lines via the hardware at home, or though a cell phone if he’s on the go.

Visual hardware identification guide

hardwareguide

Check out this visual hardware guide from deviantART member [Sonic840]. It has everything from memory modules, to bus sockets, to power connectors, to an entire array of CPU sockets that have been used over the years. You’re bound to see something in there you didn’t know existed.

[via Gizmodo]

Electric VW mobile photobooth

evbus

[Soren Coughlin-Glaser] runs a mobile photobooth in the Portland area. It’s built inside of an electric Volkswagen bus. The conversion to electric hasn’t been easy though. He’s spent most of the last few months rebuilding it after an electrical fire. Last fall he installed a 9 inch electric motor from Hi-Torque Electric after his smaller one blew up. We really like this project and look forward to seeing it back on the road… once he replaces his stripped transmission coupler.

[via Boing Boing Gadgets]

WaitLess bus tracking system

waitless

Bus systems on campus can often be frustrating. You’re standing at the stop waiting and you don’t know if it would just be faster to walk. If you have a WaitLess tracking system at your stop, you can see exactly where the bus is and make that decision much easier. The unit is self contained, solar, and equipped with wireless internet. With an Arduino at it’s core, it displays the current location of the bus by lighting an LED on a map. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

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Bus Pirate firmware update (v.0c), JTAG and more

stat

Download: buspirate.v0c.zip

A few weeks ago we wrote about our Bus Pirate universal serial interface tool. We used the recent holiday to add some new features, like a JTAG programmer, macros, frequency measurement, and more. A major code reorganization makes everything easier to read and update.

Check out the a demonstration of the new features below. We’re compiling a roadmap and wish list, so share your ideas in the comments. You can also see how we used the Bus Pirate to read a smart card and test-drive an I2C crystal oscillator.

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How-to: The Bus Pirate, universal serial interface

UPDATE: New firmware with JTAG and more

We’re always excited to get a new chip or SIM card to interface, but our enthusiasm is often dampened by the prototyping process. Interfacing any chip usually means breadboarding a circuit, writing code, and hauling out the programmer; maybe even a prototyping PCB.

A few years ago we built the first ‘Bus Pirate’, a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal. Several standard serial protocols are supported at 3.3-5volts, including I2C, SPI, and asynchronous serial. Additional ‘raw’ 2- and 3- wire libraries can interface almost any proprietary serial protocols. Since this has been such a useful tool for us, we cleaned up the code, documented the design, and released it here with specs, schematic, and source code.

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