Pi Zero as a universal USB stick

Attack Tool

The emulation of a keyboard (HID, or human interface device) is prepared but not activated by default, because keyboards disguised as USB sticks are a popular tool for hackers. Lying around, apparently lost in the company car park, curious finders guilelessly plug the stick into a PC and don't notice that it is sending commands over the keyboard interface.

Keyboard mode, as well as the emulated network, makes the mobile Pi Zero the ideal tool for pen testers, because this kind of access to PCs bypasses all the firewalls and security mechanisms. Admins in companies therefore disable the USB ports on the employees' PCs (either in the BIOS or in software) as a precaution. A complete implementation of a toolbox is provided by the GitHub project [10]. If you use it, you need to know what you are doing and be sure you have permission, wherever you may be.


The Pi Zero again demonstrates its universal utility value in various fields of application. With a mobile PC you can carry with you the server environment of your choice, use the Pi for demonstration purposes, or simply avoid overloading a host with unnecessary software.

Programmers, on the other hand, appreciate the genuine environment with all the physical interfaces that the Raspberry Pi offers, in contrast to an emulation (e.g., with Qemu). The overhead for modding the mini-computer, including the software installation, is definitely manageable.

The Author

Bernhard Bablok works at Allianz Technology SE as an SAP HR developer. When he's not listening to music, cycling, or walking, he deals with topics related to Linux, programming, and small computers. He can be reached at mailto:mail@bablokb.de.

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