Raspberry Pi – Hackers Rejoice!
The Raspberry Pi phenomenon has taken everyone by surprise especially its creators at the Raspberry Pi Project. Raspberry Pi hasn’t shipped yet and already demand has outstripped supply. Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer primarily designed to encourage young people and children into Computer Science and programming career paths. While I agree with their mission, that the younger generation and children have to get involved with technology and move past the latest Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 bloodbath games. Technology, to them has become second nature and mostly taken for granted; which to me is sad. What has been lost is the fascination that my generation had with the first computers in the early 80′s. If I think back to the days of Timex Sinclair, Tandy, Vic-20, Atari, Coleco I remember the emotional connection and absolute amazement these devices lit inside me and countless others. The Raspberry Pi project is attempting to bring back lost nostalgia, emotional attachment, that feeling of wonder and the idea anything is possible.
However, I suspect most individuals on the waiting list for one of these devices is a 1980′s nostalgist (like myself) or clever hacker at heart. The size of the Raspberry Pi makes it a perfect hacking tool. Given its peripheral connections i.e. Ethernet and low power consumption, I predict Raspberry Pi will pop up in all sorts of places. Seneca College developed a custom Fedora Remix Linux distribution which should open a whole range of possibilities including network traffic capture, port scanners, network sensors and rogue remote access gateways to name just a few. Think about it, install an SSH Server, configure a reverse connection and viola you have instant access to any network at anytime. What about host enumeration through ping and port scans. With nmap you have an awesome network discovery tool. Of course Raspberry Pi will be used by the good guys (that’s my plan) to develop Snort sensors for detecting anomalous activity. The success or failure of Raspberry Pi’s mission to inspire younger generations is hard to predict, however its popularity in hacker circles is already clear.
Raspberry Pi hasn’t shipped yet, it’s had numerous delays. We’re told it will ship in April or May of this year. While I’d love to be one of the first to try it, I’m holding out for the 2nd production run which we’re told will include a case. Whatever you may think of Raspberry Pi, it is another awesome example of Open Source and Linux working together to bring good things to life.