November 24th, 2014

Wifi Theremin

A theremin, for those who don’t already know, is a musical instrument that varies the pitch based on your proximity to an antenna, and varies the volume based on your proximity to another antenna. It’s a touch-less device, and you’d probably recognize the sound from old sci-fi movies (listen to the vibrato whistling sound in the background).

Here’s an example of a theremin:

So what does this have to do with anything? I wrote up a script that has the same functionality that uses a wifi device and its signal strength to control the frequency and volume. Yeah, pretty useless, but yet here it is. We actually did this a couple years ago at MRL, but that version was even more of a hack. This version will actually interpolate the pitch as the signal strength jumps around and is threaded so the sound is a little smoother. This version also allows for a second control (wifi interface) that corresponds with the volume so it is a little bit more like a real theremin. There’s still a decent amount of latency though, so you can’t really use it to create useful music.

Here’s a short sample of what it sounds like when you run it from my system. Now isn’t that a beautiful sound, ;) .

I started creating this on my mac book pro, but after realizing the embedded antenna is pretty difficult to control the signal strength from, I added support for linux. It’s not doing anything fancy for reading signal strength (just parsing CLI utils), so I’m not sure how portable it really is. Also, it does have a couple dependencies on audio libraries, but they’re pretty easy to install (in case you really care).

Anyway, Have fun!

No punchline required

A most hilarious data leak.

The NSA teaches us how to scrub documents

If you’ve always wished you could “redact with confidence”, then here’s the document for you. NSA published a guide on scrubbing Word documents, removing hidden meta-data and proper graphic censoring. Apparently people didn’t know that just drawing a black box widget over something in Word doesn’t actually remove or even hide the content well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen word “redact” used so frequently/frivolously. I think I just like hot-linking to the NSA.


Happy holidays everyone. Not too much going on, but I thought that I’d post on a couple random things.

First, we had a good mini-meeting week before last. We got a decent amount of code out for wicrawl, and had a good time doing it. We’re well on our way, and I’m really hoping to have an alpha, or something demo-able out by shmoocon (Jan 13th-15th, check it out, we’ll be there).

This is kind of interesting. It’s the robots.txt from (in other words it’s everything that they don’t want google, or your favorite search engines to see). Nothing worth going conspiracy theory over since it’s just a public website, but interesting nontheless.

Speaking of wireless, here is some info on wi-fi hacking at 30,000 feet (wi-fi services in airplanes), but nothing really new.

This is a pretty big brother-like move for the UK. In the next year they claim they are going to start monitoring the auto traffic of _every_ car on the road and will keep those records around for two years.

That’s all for now. Have a great rest of the year.

buffer overflows

Wired magazine created a sadly hilarious flash animation of the buffer overflow. It does, however, appear to be written at the appropriate level for most of the people I’ve met on the internet. Aleph One would be sad.

Here’s a bonus animation on race conditions.

Also amusing — This is wired’s image for “evilhacker”.

Playing with Decipher Dog

Uh, wow.

(from )

Hi Kids!
Welcome to the NSA/CSS Kids page.

We’re the CryptoKids and we love cryptology.

What’s cryptology? Cryptology is making and breaking codes. It’s so cool. We make codes so we can send secret messages to our friends. And we try to figure out what other people are writing about by breaking their codes. It’s a lot of fun.

On this site, you can learn all about codes and ciphers, play lots of games and activities, and get to know each of us – Crypto Catâ„¢, Decipher Dogâ„¢, Rosetta Stone, Slate, Joules, T.Top, and, of course, our leader CSS Sam.

I like how they actually bothered to trademark all of the characters…

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