Thanks to shows like Mr. Robot, hacking is having its biggest cultural moment in more than a decade, and you might be curious to find out what all this hacking business is all about.
While you might think the tools hackers use are completely illegal, most are actually everyday tools of legitimate security professional — just, you know, not being put to their intended use. Whether you think the makers of these products were winking when they said “intended use” is entirely your call.
What this means is that there a bunch of intriguing hacking gizmos and devices available for your perusal. Though be warned: It’s not easy to become a hacker on the cheap.
10. Keyllama 4MB USB Value Keylogger
The keylogger does exactly what its name suggests: Log every last bit of activity of the keyboard it’s monitoring. This one installs completely covertly — no software can detect it’s there — and can record as much as a year’s worth of typing. An alleged favorite of certain enterprising former University of Iowa students. ($55.50, Amazon)
9. HackRF One
An incredibly powerful radio transmitter and receiver, this is capable of all sorts of funky manipulations. It can even be used to unlock car doors… or so we’re told.
8. Tomssmartcam Mini Hidden Camera USB
Covert spy cameras are all the rage, and this one is perhaps the most naturally hacker-friendly, as it’s looks like — and is — a regular USB stick. It can record anywhere for up to two hours, then immediately slot into a computer, videos ready to be viewed. It also works like a normal USB, in case someone also needs you to transfer some spreadsheets or something. ($39.99, Amazon)
7. EyeSpy Digital Spy Recorder
It literally calls itself a bug. The thing can record for 140 hours with just the flip of a switch, only recording when people are actually talking. ($119, Amazon)
6. Alfa Network Adapter
If you’ve ever wanted to hack a wifi network, this is one of quite a few adapters that is set up for the purpose of monitoring other networks and passively sending out data. Not that you should want to hack a wifi network. You shouldn’t want to do any of the things on this list. Just so we’re clear. ($32.99, Amazon)
5. Proxmark 3 Kit
This device can read and copy RFID tags, which are used all over the place as a way to track items using the tags’ specific electromagnetic frequency. Copy that signature and you can gain access to, well, whatever that tag has access to.
4. Ubertooth One
This is capable of monitoring and tracing any nearby bluetooth devices. This would have been even more useful a few years ago, when bluetooths seemed like they were exclusively the domain of loud business jerks who needed to be kept a close eye on, but still very cool.
With this device, you can copy and store all your credit cards and anything else with a magnetic stripe in one device, then transmit the desired card data wirelessly without having to have the actual plastic with you. The Magspoof website stresses it wouldn’t also be possible to do any of this with someone else’s credit cards, just for the record, but it’s probably best not to bet against people’s enterprise.
2. Mission Darkness Faraday Bag
If just the simple act of reading this list has got you paranoid you’re now on some other list somewhere, well 1) how do you think we think feel after writing it, and 2) you may want to consider a Faraday bag, whose lining is designed to block all signals from reaching electronic devices inside of it. This one is big enough for a laptop, though cheaper models are designed for just phones. ($95, Amazon)
1. Raspberry Pi
Compared with a lot of the items on this list, it’s easy to see the non-nefarious use of the Raspberry Pi. It’s just a miniature, stripped-down computer — it doesn’t even bother with a case, let alone a built-in screen! — intended to teach people the basics of programming. It’s also a good all-purpose portable computing command center, no matter what you might be up to. There, that’s almost wholesome!
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