Hacker-Tool Hump-Day – Hak5 LAN Turtle Part 1

I’m going to spend a few days covering the Hak5 LAN Turtle. I may or may not break these up with some other Hacker-Tool Hump-Day topics, but for today, we’re just going to cover the initial set up of a brand new Turtle.

The first time you plug it into a USB port, you’ll need to wait a moment for it to initialize and present an IP to the host machine. Once an IP has been obtained (in the 172.16.84.x range,) bring up your favorite SSH client (such as PuTTY) and connect to as root. The initial default password is “sh3llz” and the first time you log in you should see a screen prompting you to set a new root password.

Enter the password of your choosing. It will prompt you to repeat the password. Do so, and it will either say it didn’t succeed and start the prompt sequence over, or it will say the password was changed successfully. Hit enter to select “Okay” and move on.

The first thing you should do after setting that initial root password is to check for updates and update the device. It’s a good idea to check for updates regularly, even if they aren’t released often. Select “Config” and hit enter. At the new menu, you can see that you can change the password you just set, change the WAN or the LAN MAC addresses, disable the Turtle Shell, and Check for updates. Use the arrow keys to move down to “Check for updates,” and hit enter. If you don’t have the ethernet side plugged into a switch that has internet access, this will fail. Don’t forget to plug that cable in.

If an update is available, it will download and verify the update files, update the LAN Turtle with a warning that it could take about 5 minutes, and a note that the Turtle will reboot after updates. It will then kick you out of the SSH session. Just wait for it to update, and keep an eye on the yellow flashy light.

Once it’s been updated, you can restart your session. The HOST keys will have changed, so you should get a warning about that if you aren’t suppressing those, and after you accept the new keys, you will need to login with the default sh3llz again. It will prompt you to change that password (again) so do so at this time. If you go back through the “Config” and “Check” menus again, you should see that there are now no new updates at this time.

I don’t recommend Disabling the turtle shell unless and until you have things set up the way you want, but if you do, you can always get back to the turtle menu by calling “turtle” from the command line.

The next step is to back out to the main menu and pick your modules through the “Module configuration” menu option. The first time you go into this menu, the only option you can select is the “Module Manager.” Select this and choose “Configure.” The next menu should let you choose which modules you’d like to install (“Directory”) or which ones to delete (“Delete”) as well as updating all installed modules via “Update.” Just like the initial update of the Turtle itself, these actions require an internet capable connection to be plugged into the Ethernet side of the Turtle.

We will go over each of the modules over time, but for now you know where this is at and you can select any you would like to play with. The “Cron” module is not necessary for the “at” command, as that appears to be installed already by default.

After you’ve selected all of the modules you want (and you can select all of them… at the time of this writing, they all fit with some space to spare…) install them and then back out of the menu to the Main menu again. Now select “Exit” to drop to the command line.

The Module Manager from the Turtle menu shell is good for pre-packaged installation and configuration of stuff, but you can also install packages that may not be part of a module from the command line. The LAN Turtle is a MIPS based OpenWRT build, and thus any packages compiled for that platform -should- work for the Turtle, assuming the binary fits in the limited file system space provided. The device appears to have 40 megs total, 30 of which are assigned to /tmp as a tmpfs file system. This means 30 megs are volatile. This still shouldn’t be a problem if you select your packages carefully.

The package type for OpenWRT devices is a “.ipk” file, and you manage the packages from the command line using the “opkg” command. The “opkg list” command claims to list available packages, but seems to list installed ones instead. The “opkg list-installed” is supposed to list installed packages, but returns nothing. To fix this, you need to run an initial “opkg update” first, which will grab the repository lists and update the local opkg database with the installed information. The “opkg search” command works as advertised with or without that initial update, so you can find out what command belongs to what package. For example, “opkg search ‘*ps'” returns “busybox – ” which means ps is part of the busybox package. If you’re a fan of multiplexers, there is a package for both “screen” and “tmux.” The “tmux” binary is slightly smaller than the “screen” one and is actually my preferred multiplexer. Alas, there was no package for “dsh.” I may choose to attempt a build of this down the road, because this is an incredibly useful tool. If I do this, I’ll document the process here as well as document turning it into an official Turtle module that could be selected from the Module Manager in the Turtle menu shell.

From a Systems Administration perspective, this device does a few things. It provides a handy USB ethernet adapter if all modules are turned off. It also provides a slimmed down linux environment reminiscent of a Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, or similar, with a smaller form factor, but at the cost of losing some computing power. This is good for providing a quick environment where a VM would be overkill and you’re stuck with a Windows machine as your workstation. Just be aware that your Corporate Security team may take exception to you using such a device, even if no hostile modules are installed. Make sure you are transparent and work things out with them before plugging a “rogue” device into the network in a corporate environment.

Some of the more useful SysAdmin related tools in the Module Manager are “autossh,” “sshfs,” “clomac (if the network is locked down by MAC,)” and “cron” for obvious reasons. I’ll cover each module available over time, and explain the “Configure,” “Start/Stop,” and “Enable/Disable” menu options for each in their own articles. This way each gets the right amount of focus.

Thanks for reading, and if you like this kind of thing, check out the forums at Hak5 to see the latest discussion.

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