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!

Hands-On Review: Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing

Bring next level intelligence to your Raspberry Pi projects with the Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing. In this article we will take a quick hands-on view of the Grove AI HAT board & Ultrasonic Sensor in standalone mode, and used as a Raspberry Pi HAT.

Introduction

The Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing is built around Sipeed MAix M1 AI MODULE with the Kendryte K210 processor inside. It’s a low cost but powerful stand-alone board that can also run as a Raspberry Pi Artificial Intelligence HAT.

The board not only bristles with peripheral connections (I2C/UART/SPI/I2S/PWM/GPIO), but has built in audio and video processing capabilities for AI projects.  This means you can connect multiple Grove Sensors to the board. Couple that with its video and audio capabilities and it makes it an interesting choice for Edge Computing environments. 

Seeedstudio provided me with a Grove AI Hat board for review. There are plenty of articles on the technical specs of the board, so this article will be more of a “hands-on” usage review. Let’s hook a Grove sensor up to the board and use it on its own, and as a Raspberry Pi HAT.

The Grove AI HAT is a new board, so there are not a lot of usability instructions available at this time. One of the quickest ways I found to interface with the board is to use the Seeedstudio Arduino interface. The ArduinoCore-API interface has been added to the board, allowing support for multiple development environments, including Arduino IDE, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. This basically means you can run Grove Arduino Libraries and many other Arduino libraries on this board.

Enough intro, let’s see it in action!

Basic Arduino Instructions

The Grove AI HAT can function entirely on its own and in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi. A good starting point is to connect one of the many Grove sensors to the board, and perform basic input/ output using the Arduino library.

In this section, we will see how to interact with a Grove Ultrasonic range sensor and view the output using the individual board, and then as a Raspberry Pi HAT.  

Follow the Arduino setup instructions on the Seeed website carefully. You need to add board drivers and use a specific writing option (K-flash), if you pick the wrong options, your board will not function properly.

Follow the setup instructions here:

http://wiki.seeedstudio.com/Grove_AI_HAT_for_Edge_Computing/

Summarized below:

  • Download and install the Arduino IDE on your computer
  • Run Arduino IDE
  • Add the K210 Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing driver
  • Select the K-flash programmer

The Arduino IDE is now configured to work with the Grove board.

Using the Grove Board Standalone

Once everything is setup, you can use Seeed’s sample Arduino code to control the board directly. For example, the Ultrasonic sensor.

WARNING: Do no connect or disconnect sensors to the board while it is powered up, you could damage it!

Connect your range sensor to the board (I used port D13)

Then using a USB C cable, connect the board to your computer. This will power up the board and allow your computer to communicate to it.

  • Next, load in the ultrasonic Arduino library into your sketch project folder.
  • In the Arduino IDE, enter the sample code provided by Seeed:
  • Compile and write the code to your board

Now, open the Arduino serial monitor and you should see live range detection:

Move your hand back and forth in front of the range detector, you should see the range update live in your Serial Monitor tab.

That’s all well and good, but this is a Raspberry Pi HAT! How do you use it with a Raspberry Pi?

Grove on the Raspberry Pi

In this section we will look at using the Grove AI board with a Raspberry Pi 3b+. The Pi 3b is running Raspbian and is setup up for remote access via Putty. To use the Grove Board and Pi in tandem, we need to connect them together. Disconnect power (the USB cable), connect the riser board to the Grove board, and then carefully connect the Pi and grove boards together. Make sure no power is applied to either board, and the pins line up correctly, or you could damage your boards.

Only provide power to one board, the Pi or the Grove Hat, if you connect power to both boards you need to change a switch on the Grove board.  

Connect the USB cord from your PC to the Grove power port. Both the Grove board and Raspberry Pi should power up at the same time. In this configuration, you can still use the Arduino Serial Monitor to view the sensor output. But we want to see it on the Pi.

To use the Grove board on a Pi, we will need to install the Grove Python library.

Instructions can be found here:

http://wiki.seeedstudio.com/Grove_Base_Kit_for_Raspberry_Pi/

Basically, from a Raspbian install:

Now with the Grove library installed, we can run a short Python program to communicate with the Sensor through the Raspberry PI.

  • cd ~/grove.py/grove

Enter in, save and run the following Python program in the grove directory:

ultrasonic.py:

It should look like this when done:

Now, just run the ultrasonic.py program:

And that’s it! You should see distance displayed in real time.

You can open the Arduino Serial monitor and get readings from it at the same time, as seen below:

One interesting feature is that if the Pi is shutdown, or the Python program stopped, the Grove board can continue to work.

As seen below:

The Ultrasonic program was stopped, but the device continues to operate as seen in the Arduino serial monitor.

AI Computing

As mentioned at the beginning of this video, the Grove HAT has video and audio processing capability built in. I ran into some questions on how to access the video and audio part of the card and am waiting to hear back from Seeed tech support. So, I will explore this capability in future articles, but for now, Seeed has a great demo video of this capability on their website:

https://project.seeedstudio.com/SeeedStudio/face-count-and-display-using-grove-ai-hat-and-pi-3e100f

Conclusion

This was just a very basic intro to the Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing. The board is very exciting as it brings a host of sensor capabilities to the Raspberry Pi platform. I believe this will allow for much more intelligent Pentest drop boxes (it could sense and record when someone was in the room, for example), robotics projects, Magic Mirrors, and whatever else you can dream up. Stay tuned, more to come!

About Seeed Studio:
Seeed is the IoT hardware enabler providing services over 10 years that empower makers to realize their projects and products. Seeed offers a wide array of hardware platforms and sensor modules ready to be integrated with existing IoT platforms and one stop PCB manufacturing and Prototype PCB Assembly.

Seeed Studio provides a wide selection of electronic parts including ArduinoRaspberry Pi and many different development board platforms. Especially the Grove System help engineers and makers avoid jumper wires problems. Seeed Studio has developed more than 280 Grove modules covering a wide range of applications that can fulfill a variety of needs. 

Pi 4 Hacking Platform using DietPi and PTF

Building a Raspberry Pi 4 Ethical Hacking platform using The Pentesters Framework and DietPi.

I’ve been playing with using different hacking tools and Operating Systems with the Pi 4. In this article I cover installing The Pentesters Framework on a RPi 4 running DietPi.

DietPi is a very lightweight Debian OS for the Raspberry Pi. The Pentesters Framework by TrustedSec is an Ethical Hacking installation script that automatically installs and updates over 250 modules/ tools. It would be great if they would work together on a Raspberry Pi 4. The good news is that is does – With a couple tweaks.

I cover installing and using The Pentesters Framework on Raspberry Pi in my latest book. So, I am not going to go into great detail on using the tools in PTF. I just want to cover actually installing it on DietPi.

Installing

NOTE: You will need a Raspberry Pi 4, and at the minimum a 32 GB MicroSD card if you want to install all of the PTF tools. Don’t have a Pi 4? Seeed is currently offering free shipping for orders over $119 with a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB.

Insert the MicroSD card into your Pi, attach peripherals and lastly connect power (always connect power last). When DietPi boots up you will be presented with some options.

  • Pick any software install options you want, then “Go install software”
  • Requested software and updates will be installed
  • Reboot when finished

I just run through it quickly the first time to get the latest OS updates. Note the CPU temp warning, it’s a Pi 4, it runs hotter than a Pi 3.

To install an “X” Desktop or any other included software, type, “dietpi-software”.

There are a ton of add-on software options under “Software Optimised”. For example, if you want a graphical desktop, pick the X-Desktop you want and then the “Go install software” option. You can also setup your login preferences from this menu – auto login, desktop login, etc.

All we really need here is to install Python. Then we need to make a small config file tweak and finally install PTF.

Installing Python

From the DietPi-Software menu, go to “Software Additional” and install Python:

  • Cursor down to Python Pip, hit the space bar to select it.
  • Select “OK

You will return to the main menu.,

  • Cursor down and select “Go >> Start Installation
  • Reboot when finished

We need to install git:

  • Open a terminal and enter, “apt install git

Next we need to comment out a line in the ‘/etc/hosts’ file or the PTF install will error out.

  • Comment out the “::1 localhost  IPv6 localhost” line
  • Reboot

That’s it! We can now proceed with the standard PTF install:

You will then see the main PTF interface:

Type “show modules” to see all available modules. You can install individual ones if you wish. If you have a large memory card (32 Gb), you can install all of them.

  • To install all tools, enter “use modules/install_update_all
  • Reboot when finished

The install will take a very long time, especially if you install all of the modules. After install, all tools will be located in category themed directories under the ‘/pentest’ directory, as seen below:

Many of the tools can be run from anywhere, but some tools require you to change into its install directory for it to work properly. This is usually ‘/pentest’, but some run from ‘/usr/share’ as well. Check it out, there are a ton of very good tools at your disposal, like “Sniper”:

And there you have it. Again, I go into much deeper detail in my book about using PTF on a Pi, I just wanted to show how it could be installed on DietPi. If you want to learn a lot more about using Raspberry Pi for Ethical hacking check out my latest book – Security Testing with Raspberry Pi