Hack Button

Completed July 23, 2015

The hack button was inspired by the movies and TV shows that are so accurate in their portrayal of computer hacking. Like all good hackers know, binary is the¬†key to all hacking, and every successful hack ends by slamming the return key. This button takes all the work out of hacking by removing the frantic typing and going straight to the button slamming. Just press “HACK” to h4ck 4ll n00b5. It’s that simple.

There is no blog for this project because it was finished pre-site, so I don’t have any documentation of the process other than the Facebook group chat that birthed the idea.

The button itself is made from 3D printed PLA and consists of three parts: the base, the cap, and the button. The base is a cylinder with some slots to keep the button straight and a support structure in the center to keep hold the spring and limit switch in place. The button has three protrusions to keep it straight in the base, a post in the middle with a hole to keep the spring in place, and of course, the work “HACK” extruded out of the top to show people it means business. The cap is meant to keep the button inside the base and cover up the slots that keep the button straight. It used to have three extra posts that would slide into the base for stability, but I snapped them off because the protrusions that were meant to limit the button’s travel have enough friction against the base to keep everything in place.

The electronics consist of a four port USB hub that uses three of the four ports. The first is an 8GB flash drive soldered in to hold a bootable persistent Kali Linux operating system. The persistence was necessary to save the keyboard shortcuts and bash files that give the button its functionality. The second port is soldered to a keyboard shift register that has the combination “F2” soldered to the limit switch. Whenever the button is pressed, it’s like pressing F2. The third port is only used for power, and has two green LEDs soldered to it. I know it would have made more sense to use white LEDs, but I only had green ones available.

The software, as mentioned before, is Kali Linux booted from the flash drive which also contains a bash file and a keyboard shortcut to execute the bash file. When the button is pressed, the terminal pops up and displays “Hacking” with some loading periods and after a few seconds, displays “n00bs h4v3 b33n h4ck3d”. Eventually, if I’m ever motivated to do so, I’m going to make the bash file a little more complex, but in the meantime, simple text is enough to show that it works.

The whole process takes a while because it’s Linux and, to make things longer, is booted from a flash drive, but if you love hacker movies and their blatant disregard for any sort of computer science realism, then it’s a very entertaining button. If not, just pressing the thing makes a satisfying click that can result in hours of fun.