[Mitch] got interested in the S8 “data line locator” so he did the work to tear into its hardware and software. If you haven’t seen these, they appear to be a USB cable. However, inside the USB plug is a small GSM radio that allows you to query the device for its location, listen on a tiny microphone, or even have it call you back when it hears something. The idea is that you plug the cable into your car charger and a thief would never know it was a tracking device. Of course, you can probably think of less savory uses despite the warning on Banggood:
Please strictly abide by the relevant laws of the state, shall not be used for any illegal use of this product, the consequences of the use of self conceit.
We aren’t sure what the last part means, but we are pretty sure people can and will use these for no good, so it is interesting to see what they contain.
The device is really simple inside, containing just two ICs. One is a CPU and the other a GSM phone. [Mitch] found a simple OS that targeted the CPU and was able to use that to dump the Flash contents. He could not figure out how to write to it however. Glancing through the dumps though, it seems it uses Nucleus as an operating system. He examined it using a variety of interesting techniques and tools, so even if you don’t care about this device in particular you still might enjoy the process.
[Mitch] notes some similar hardware in leaked NSA documents. People are worried about the Amazon Echo listening. Maybe it would be a good idea to scan your USB cables. Bugging tech has certainly come a long way.