GSM Cracked

[Karsten Nohl], with a group of security researchers has broken the A5/1 Stream Cipher behind GSM. Their project web site discusses their work and provides slides(pdf) presented at 26C3. A5/1 has had known vulnerabilities for some time now and is scheduled to be phased out for the newer KASUMI or A5/3 block cipher. This should be an interesting time in the cell phone business.

Thanks to [Tyco] and [MashupMark] for pointing us to this story.

GSM enabled security door

The security door at the front of [Oliver's] building uses an intercom system to let in guests remotely. Each unit has an intercom handset with a button that unlocks the door. [Oliver] wanted a way to enter without carrying any extra items so he built a system to unlock the door with his cell phone.

He patched into the intercom and attached a GSM module. The module runs python so he wrote a script that will monitor the entryway buzzer, then wait for an approved cell phone connection to unlock it. He went through a couple of different iterations for the final project. The first attempt used XBee modules to communicate between the intercom handset and the GSM module. For the final version, he snaked cable through his wall using rare-earth magnets (creative!) in order to forgo the use of a battery in the handset.

Who doesn’t carry a cell phone with them?  Because of this, the use of GSM modules in automation is a trend we think will continue to gain popularity.

Tiny GSM alarm system

We’ve covered this sort of thing before, but there is something to be said for the simplicity of this tiny GSM alarm system by [trax]. The alarm system is designed to send the owner a text message when a sensor is triggered. This alarm only works with Siemens phones, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find one.  The alarm is configured via a dip switch on the board and can also be armed and disarmed by text. The brains of this system is a PIC16F84A. The code and schematics are included at the bottom of the page.

[Read more...]

Vaio P HSDPA mod

sim

[tnkgrl] has concluded her Sony Vaio P by adding GSM support. We covered the switch to XP earlier, but this should work on Vista too. The Vaio P is sold in the US with support for Verizon’s EVDO wireless broadband, but it uses the same hardware as the European model that uses GSM. This is possible because of the the Qualcomm Gobi radio module. To get GSM support, you trick the VZAccess Manager into loading a different firmware than the stock EVDO. The difficult part is that the Vaio P doesn’t come with a SIM card slot, so you’ll have to solder in your own. When you’ve got the computer reassembled, just change VZAccess Manager to use your carrier.

UPDATE: Wired has an article on the Gobi chipset.

Bug Labs introduces new BUGmodules

bug

Bug Labs, the company that makes modular electronics that allow you to build your own tech doohickeys quickly and easily, has announced five new modules: BUGprojector, a mini DLP projector developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments, which sounds very much like the tiny DLP projector we posted about last week; BUGsound, an audio processing module with four stereo input/output jacks, a microphone, a speaker, and builtin hardware codecs; BUGbee (802.15.4) and BUGwifi (802.11 and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR), which will let you connect wirelessly with your PAN and WLAN, respectively; and BUG3g GSM, for connecting to (you guessed it) 3G GSM networks. In conjunction with Bug Labs’ existing series of modules, especially the highly versatile BUGvonHippel universal module, you’ll be able to create some pretty kickass gadgets. No word yet on pricing, although Bug Labs expects to ship by the end of Q1 2009.

Hardware-unlocked Android G1 for sale

g1

Google has new program to sell Android phones directly to developers. The Android Dev Phone 1 is both SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked. SIM-unlocked means you can use it on any GSM carrier you want. Hardware-unlocked means you can run any system you want on the phone, not just officially signed ones. No more need to worry about security patches taking away your root access.

The device is $399. You will need to purchase it through the Android Market as a registered developer (a $25 fee). We wonder how long before the unsigned bootloader starts getting flashed to T-Mobile phones.

Two new Android phones have surfaced recently which may prove just as friendly: the Kogan Agora Pro and the QiGi i6.

UPDATE: While shipping is free in US, it is incredibly expensive everywhere else. Yes, we bought one.

[via Techmeme]

[photo: tnkgrl]

25th Chaos Communication Congress schedule

The team behind 25C3 has published the first draft of this year’s schedule. The annual Chaos Communication Congress is happening December 27th to 30th in Berlin, Germany. There are plenty of interesting talks already in place. We’re spotting things we want to attend already: The conference starts off with how to solar power your gear, which is followed by open source power line communication. A TOR-based VPN, an open source BIOS, rapid prototyping, holographic techniques, and running your own GSM network are on the bill too.

We’ll have at least three Hack a Day contributors in attendance. Last year featured two of our favorite conference talks: [Drew Endy]‘s Biohacking and the MiFare crypto1 RFID crack. We hope to see you there.

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