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Putting An Ultra-Tiny Linux Board In A Phone Charger…Eventually

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Among security professionals, a “drop box” is a device that can be covertly installed at a target location and phone home over the Internet, providing a back door into what might be an otherwise secure network. We’ve seen both commercial and DIY versions of this concept, and as you might expect, one of the main goals is to make the device look as inconspicuous as possible. Which is why [Walker] is hoping to build one into a standard USB wall charger.

This project is still in the early stages, but we like what we see so far. [Walker] aims to make this a 100% free and open source device, starting from the tools he’s using to produce the CAD files all the way up to the firmware the final hardware will run. With none of the currently available single-board computers (SBCs) meeting his list of requirements, the first step is to build a miniature Linux machine that’s got enough processing power to run useful security tools locally. Obviously such a board would be of great interest to the larger hacker and maker community.

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Maker Squeezes Linux SBC Into Cell Phone Charger

  • Maker Squeezes Linux SBC Into Cell Phone Charger

    In the ongoing contest to find the world’s smallest booting computer, we might have found a new contender. In a post via Hackaday, prolific builder of things Ryan Walker has posted on Medium about his project to squeeze a fully functional Wi-Fi router into the casing of a phone charger. And for once this doesn't involve a Raspberry Pi rather an alternative single board computer has been chosen.

    [...]

    The device, from initial CAD files to final firmware, is planned to be completely open-source, hence the rather down to earth Bill of Materials (BoM) that lists easily sourced parts. The initial prototype uses USB Wi-Fi adaptors, but the plan is to use a dedicated chip for seamless integration into the device.

    Aside from its potential security implications, this project shows the interesting story behind what’s effectively a DIY SBC, and we look forward to the second part of Walker’s blog, in which he promises to detail more of the process of putting the thing together, and making it small enough to fit in a phone charger casing. He’s already wrestling with the power supply implications - and we suspect the final product won’t be able to charge your phone.

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