updated 11:35 am EST, Fri November 26, 2010
OpenVizsla USB sniffer may catch iPhone, Kinect
A newly unveiled hardware and software project could provide a relatively inexpensive way to capture USB data and use it to engineer hacks or unofficial apps. OpenVizsla would sniff out the proprietary data sent by Apple's iOS devices, the Microsoft Kinect or other USB host devices and export it in a way that could be access by anyone. It would combine an accessible XMOS processor, a Xilinx Spartan3E chip to intercept the USB data and leave unused interfaces exposed so it can be analyzed and expanded in the future.
The call for a low-cost, open USB sniffer was strong, said the creators of the project, which include members from the iPhone DevTeam jailbreaking and unlocking group.
"The most popular products cost $1,400+ and, with few exceptions, use proprietary Windows-only client software, proprietary protocols, and proprietary data formats that are hard to export for use with other software," the OpenVizsla group said.
The group is currently taking donations and has notably received support from British celebrity Stephen Fry, who said he contributed to the project.
A more established USB data interceptor could have a significant effect on the speed with which jailbreaks, unlocks and syncing apps appear for USB devices, many of which often have to be cracked primarily through software or else through a reverse engineering of the specific device.