Secret Listening to Elevator Music

While we don’t think this qualifies as a “fail”, it’s certainly not a triumph. But that’s what happens when you notice something funny and start to investigate: if you’re lucky, it ends with “Eureka!”, but most of the time it’s just “oh”. Still, it’s good to record the “ohs”.

Gökberk [gkbrk] Yaltıraklı was staying in a hotel long enough that he got bored and started snooping around the network, like you do. Breaking out Wireshark, he noticed a lot of UDP traffic on a nonstandard port, so he thought he’d have a look.

A couple of quick Python scripts later, he had downloaded a number of the sample packets and decoded them into hex and found the signature for LAME, an MP3 encoder. He played around with byte offsets until he got a valid MP3 file out, and voilà, the fantastic reveal! It was the hotel’s elevator music stream — that he could hear outside in the corridor with much less effort. (Sad trombone.)

But just because nothing came up this time doesn’t mean that nothing will come up next time. And it’s important to keep your skills sharp for when you really need them. We love following along with peoples’ reverse engineering efforts, whether or not they end up finding anything. What oddball signals have you found lately?

Thanks [leonardo] for the tip! Wireshark graphic from Softpedia’s entry on Wireshark. Simulated-phosphor audio display by Oona [windytan] Räisänen (check that out!).

24 thoughts on “Secret Listening to Elevator Music

      1. Exactly What I thought!

        How silly, for this purpose they could have just had like an hour loop of elevator music on a small storage device in the elevator itself. Not like they change it, like , ever.

    1. Hahaha! Captive audience.
      .
      I’m so mad at myself; I tried to find an instrumental jazz version to post but, of course, got Rickrolled with the same original version again.

  1. > It was the hotel’s elevator music stream — that he could hear outside in the corridor with much less effort.
    But if he really like it the recording directly from the network will be much better quality than with a mic in the corridor…

    1. I would think that listening to elevator music in the corridor would be next to impossible, especially if the elevator is on the first floor and you are located on the ninth floor.

  2. but… I thought it would be obvious to substitute a custom stream. there was a hotel in new orleans that had a clock radio with 4 tracks permanently tied to 4 buttons, I found the SD card and replaced the tracks with subtly better ones.

  3. Nice work and a fun read :) They can’t all be solid gold. I had forgot about squeeging the offset so much. Might have to poke around a few old projects that yielded nothing at the time. Kudos :)

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