Top 10 Hardware Hacking Tools to Identify Vulnerabilities in IoT Devices [Updated 2023]

According to one study, IoT Devices are the most vulnerable devices among all IT-enabled devices. As more and more IoT devices are deployed in your homes, and in workspaces, security threats are also increasing exponentially.

IoT Devices are made up of three components: Embedded systems, Application/Firmware installed on the device, and Radio communication. All three are vulnerable to different attack vectors and security features employed in these devices are still not well-proven. This article is a brief overview of the Top Hardware Hacking Tools to Identify vulnerabilities in IoT Devices.

(1) JTAGulator

JTAGulator is an open-source hardware hacking tool used to identify JTAG/IEEE 1149.1, ARM SWD, and UART/asynchronous serial. You can perform the below activities by using JTAGulator:

  • extract program code or data,
  • modify memory contents
  • affect device operation

(2) Zigbee Sniffer

Zigbee is an IoT protocol that has specifications of low power consumption, and low-cost technology designed for communication in wireless IoT networks. Zigbee Sniffer is computer hardware that helps in intercepting and logging data in wireless networks.

(3) ChipWhisperer

ChipWhisperer is an open-source and low-cost solution to identify vulnerabilities in embedded systems. This hardware helps in conducting side-channel power analysis and fault injection attacks against the embedded systems.

(4) Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate (from Dangerous Prototypes) is a troubleshooting tool that connects a PC and any IoT or embedded device (including chipset and devices) over different protocols such as 1-wire, 2-wire, 3-wire, I2C, JTAG, UART, SPI, and HD44780 LCD protocols - all at voltages from 0-5.5VDC. If you purchase Bus Pirate, it will come with jumper wires. To work with Bus Pirate, there is a need for a Terminal that supports serial connections. XTerm can be used as a Terminal for Windows machines. Below are the main components of the Bus Pirate:

  • PIC24FJ64 processor
  • a FT232RL USB-to-Serial chip

Bus Pirate can be used for the following purposes:

  • sniff traffic on the bus
  • measuring frequency of 1 Hz to 40 MHz
  • baud detection
  • transparent passthrough mode

(5) Ubertooth One

Ubertooth One is an open-source 2.4 GHz wireless development platform that comes as a USB plug with an antenna. This tool may be used with various wireless monitoring tools like Kismet.

(6) HackRF

HackRF is open-source hardware developed for researchers for experimentation on software-defined radio. This device is able to transmit or receiving of radio signals from 1 MHz to 6 GHz.

(7) Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi is a small-sized computer that helps you to write your programs or help in creating circuits and physical devices. This device is able to perform almost all functions that you do by using a desktop, laptop, or smartphone.

(8) Wifi Pineapple

Wifi Pineapple can be used for automating WiFi auditing and providing nice vulnerability assessment reports. Currently, this device is also used by cybercriminals to steal sensitive data on public Wifi networks.

(9) Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware/software and can be used to run 1 program at a time.

(10) Proxmark3 Kit

Proxmark3 Kit is the RFID tool used for sniffing, reading, and cloning RF Tags. This tool can be used as a multi-purpose hardware tool for radio-frequency identification (RFID) security analysis, research, and development.

Miscellaneous Tools

(1) Shark Jack

Shark Jack is a hardware hacking tool for network auditing. It comes with Nmap that helps in easy reconnaissance. It is able to execute payloads in seconds. This tool supports the development of bash payloads that help in the automation of any attacks.

(2) USB to TTL

Generally known as FTDI devices. Here, TTL stands for Transistor-Transistor Logic. The USB side of the device may be connected to a computer or laptop and the TTL side may be connected to the microcontroller or any other device that supports TTL logic. This device simply converts USB signal into a TTL signal and vice-versa. To use this device, there is a need for a driver to install it on the computer or laptop.

(3) Bus Blaster

Bus Blaster is a hardware hacking tool used for JTAG debugging. It supports ARM processors, FPGAs, CPLDs, flash, etc.

(4) nRF Sniffer

Hardware Hacking tool to debug Bluetooth devices. This tool allows you to sniff Bluetooth data between two devices. To set up an environment for usage, you need to install sniffer software from the official website on the desktop. After software installation, you can see all Bluetooth interfaces on the screen. Further, you can use the Wireshark tool to see the sniffing Bluetooth LE packets of the selected interface.

(5) Shikra

This hardware hacking tool may be the replacement for Bus Pirate. It supports low-level interfaces such as JTAG, I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO.


I hope you like this blog. Must comment if I missed any tool.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping my readers!

Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only. Individual is solely responsible for any illegal act.

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