WIO Terminal: Powerful All-in-One Arduino

Today we are going to take a quick look at the WIO Terminal – The all-in-one Arduino solution from Seeedstudio. I received a review unit from Seeed to test and had a blast, so let’s get to it!

This feature loaded device includes a 2.4” display, Wi-Fi, MicroSD Card Reader, microphone, IR Emitter, and more. At the pricepoint of about $30, it is very affordable. Of all the Arduino device I have tested in the last few months, the WIO Terminal is easily the most impressive. I also think it will be the one that will be the most useful in the security testing field.

The WIO Terminal comes with a 2.4” Display built in. You can custom program the display using code, or display photos & images, or app output. You can program the buttons to scroll through the pictures or as input. You could use the WIO to play games, a simple one was pre-encoded on the device when I received it:

There are a lot of walk throughs and excellent code examples for every feature on the WIO Terminal Wiki. You can use any of the demo programs included in the WIO Terminal Wiki to get up and running quickly.

Like playing with the built in sensors:

You can store and save files to the MicroSD card, just format it as FAT32 (See the WIO Terminal Wiki for coding instructions).

You can display images or run a photo display show. Just use the photo display example, and drag and drop the photos to the SD card before you insert it into the WIO.

You could add sound using the built in buzzer. For “May the 4th” day, I had the WIO show an image of Darth Vader and play the Imperial March!

Another cool features of the WIO that I haven’t seen in other devices, is that it has built in magnets. This would allow you place the WIO on any metal surface and it will stick (your battery source would need to have magnest also). This could come in handy during a Red Team or Pentest, just snap the device onto a metal cabinet or inside a desk.

The built in microphone is a very interesting feature – you could program it to trigger on sound:

More capabilities are being added to the microphone library, so I am thinking at some point you would be able to record sound and save it on the internal SDCard. Of course, as a pentester, you wouldn’t want it to say “Microphone Reading”, lol.

Maybe something more like this:

The WIO can also connect to and act like a Raspberry Pi HAT!
Note: connector pins not included

The WIO Terminal can act as a USB client or host, I think this will be a great opportunity to turn the WIO into a HiD attack device, like a Rubber Ducky. Maybe at some point a USB ethernet connector would work with it, that would be very interesting. There were some coding issues with the HiD interface when I tried it out, but it is being worked on as we speak, and will be fixed soon.

Add in the ability to scan and attach to WiFi networks and you really have a complete programmable security tool. I did have trouble with the WiFi on my prototype board, but again, it seemed to be a coding issue and I am sure it will be taken care of soon.

It has two built in Grove connectors so you can attach a wide variety of sensors to it, greatly increasing its capabilities. Or use a WIO Link card to greatly increase its sensor connectivity:

I am really looking forward to delving deeper into this tool in the next few months. I think it has the capabilities to be a great addition to a Pentester’s toolkit, with the right programming and connected sensors. The WIO Terminal from Seeedstudio, Check it out!

Seeeduino XIAO – Small but Powerful Arduino Board

Seeedstudio XIAO Product Page
Seeedstudio XIAO WIKI

Stuck at home because of the quarantine, and looking for something to do? Look no further, how about creating a DIY project with Seeeduino XIAO! Seeedstudio sent me their newest Arduino board and several Grove sensors for testing and review. I honestly have to say, I haven’t had this much fun playing with hardware in a long time!

I will give a quick overview of the Seeeduino XIAO and show a few examples of it interfacing with sensors. My personal goal for using the XIAO is twofold, to make smarter “Magic Mirrors”, and Red Team Pentest drop boxes. In this article, I quickly show how I used a XIAO and an LED Ring in an Arduino Magic Mirror. In future articles, I will show how to make smarter drop boxes with Grove sensors (I talk about one way to do this in my previous Seeed article).

Basically, imagine a Magic Mirror that turns on when you enter the room. Or one that could display a changing color bar that syncs with music. For my pentester friends, imagine smart drop boxes, ones that only scan for WiFi devices when there is a human in the room, or one that sleeps when the lights are off and only activates when someone turns the room lights on. All of this and more is/ should be possible with Grove sensors and an Arduino or Raspberry Pi board.

Alright, enough intro, let’s look at the Seeeduino XIAO!

The Hardware

The Seeeduino XIAO is Seeedstudio’s smallest Arduino board. It is about the size of a US Penny, and only about $5 – but it is a fully functional Arduino board. The tiny board comes with breadboard leads that you can solder to the board, if you wish. I haven’t soldered in a long time, so soldering the leads to the board was a little challenging at first, but then I found that just laying the tip on the middle top edge of every pin worked great!

You probably want your pins so they are longer on the bottom, so they will connect into the breadboard. For my future projects, I wanted the pins coming out the top of the board, so I can install it flush to the bottom of a case, so mine are “upside down”.

The Software

The Seeedstudio XIAO Wiki covers downloading the necessary drivers and setting up the Arduino environment, so I am not going to cover it.

Basically,

  • Download the Arduino IDE – https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
  • Start Arduino IDE, follow the instructions in the WIKI on installing the XIAO board and configuring the correct port for it (Getting Started section)
  • Load the “Blink” program in the examples, and compile and upload it, to make sure everything is setup properly

That’s it! Your XIAO is now ready for your projects!

Mini Seeeduino & Grove Weather Station

Using the XIAO and a Grove Sensor together is a snap, they interface very easily together. Though, you will need to either use jumper wires or modify a Grove connector to connect them to the XIAO. On some sensors, like the High Precision Barometric Pressure Sensor (DPS310), you can just use female to female jumper wires.

Using the Barometric Sensor, you can quickly and easily create a mini weather station! Just follow the instructions on the Seeedstudio GitHub Page, make the correct wire connections, compile and run the program, switch to the Arduino monitor, and you will see both pressure and temperature settings. This is shown in the picture above.

Login to a Raspberry Pi Through a XIAO

Another cool thing you can do with the XIAO is use it as a USB to serial interface. One use for this setup is to login to a Raspberry Pi through a Windows 10 USB connection!

Complete instructions for doing this can be found in the XIAO Wiki, just follow the steps to wire your Pi to your Arduino. Compile and load the program onto the XIAO. Run Putty on your Windows 10 system, configuring it to connect to the XIAO Com port. Then power on your Pi, configure it to allow the Serial Terminal in Raspi-Config, or set the Uart command in config.txt (instructions in the Wiki) and you are good to go.

Once everything is setup, hit, “enter” in the Putty terminal and you will see the Raspberry Pi login screen! As seen in the picture above – How cool is that?

Grove LED Ring

The Seeed Wiki doesn’t cover how to use the Grove LED ring with the XIAO, but it is very easy. Just follow the instructions given on the Grove Ring Wiki:

  • Connect the LED ground to XIAO ground, +V to 3.3 on the XIAO, and Signal to pin 6.
  • Install the Grove LED ring Library
  • Then run any of the bottom (not the first) programs listed in the Grove Wiki

And you should see something like the picture below:

That’s it, you can quickly and easily control the LED ring with the XIAO!

The nice thing is that you can use the XIAO as a very cost-effective LED controller in your projects. For example, I used mine in an Android Magic Mirror that I made a while back. Magic mirrors are very easy to make, I just used an old Android tablet, Magic Mirror software (there are several to choose from), a large picture frame and a piece of one-way glass that fit into the frame. The Android display shines through the 1-Way glass and seems to appear in the mirror.

I mounted the XIAO and the LED ring into my magic mirror and it worked fantastic!

The LED ring, powered by the XIAO showed extremely well through the Magic Mirror glass. Again, this is a “step one” proof of concept kind of thing. Additional work with straight LED’s and you could light the entire edges up, or possible, with something like a Raspberry Pi, you should be able to get the LED ring to sync to music as a song played.

Conclusion

I only briefly covered a handful of possibilities with using the XIAO. As I mentioned earlier, this board was a lot of fun to tinker with, it is a great project board for small and large projects alike. I really look forward to using this in future drop box and Magic Mirror projects. If you want something a little larger, with built in Wi-Fi and an LCD screen, I will be reviewing the WIO Terminal soon!

Own a Fully Functional WWII Enigma Machine with “Open Enigma”

For those interested in WWII history or cryptology, one item that still carries with it an air of mystique and awe is the German Enigma Machine. Well, now you can own or make your own!

The electro-mechanical rotor cipher Enigma machines used by the Germans were once considered unbreakable until Allied forces reverse-engineered it allowing them to read top secret Axis correspondence.

Now teachers, history buffs and crypto fans can own their very own fully functional Enigma machine!

Check out the open source, Arduino based “Open Enigma Project” a KickStarter project by S&T Geotronics:

So cool!

Arduino Tracked Robot with Ping Ultrasonic Sensor

Not nearly as impressive as the CIA robots in the prior post, but this one is home grown.

Meet “FRED the Robot”:

For my die hard security fans, don’t worry, I just took a few days off of security news and finished assembling this guy. I have always enjoyed robots, and this is actually my second robot that I have built.

I made this out of a Tamiya tank track kit with dual bi-directional motors. The Wall-E looking eyes on the front is actually a Ping Ultrasonic sensor mouted on a HS-55 micro-servo. Realtime distance measurements from the Ping are sent to an Arduino control board that processes the signals, and sends control signals to the engine driver board. In turn the engine driver board converts the digital and analog signals from the arduino and moves the robot to either follow or avoid whatever the Ping Ultrasonic Sensor is tracking.

So far works great at terrorizing the cat and entertaining the kids. The short video is from two of its maiden voyages. I need to tweak the program a bit on it, as it keeps throwing its tracks when making the quick turns.

I am thinking of making it a tad bigger in the future and maybe adding a GPS unit. Not sure, just having some fun with it right now.