The team at Pwnie Express seems to have a lot of trouble standing still, as it doesn’t seem more than a few months go by before they are talking about yet another disruptive open source product that they are about to unleash on the security community.
First it was their Pwn Plug, which combined an off the shelf SheevaPlug with a feature packed open source firmware that turned it into an incredibly capable security tool. Then came the absolutely diabolical Power Pwn, which hid the same type of functionality into what looked like a standard power strip.
Today they’ve launched their latest product, continuing along the same line of hiding cutting edge open source security tools in plain sight: the Pwn Pad.
The Pwn Pad is based around the wildly popular Nexus 7 tablet from Google, with a custom firmware that combines Android 4.2 and Ubuntu 12.04 to get the absolute best of both worlds. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to use Android-native security tools, or the latest Linux tool, you’ll be able to do it right on one device by virtue of the Pwn Pad’s operating system.
In addition to the Nexus 7, the Pwn Pad kit includes a number of high performance external hardware devices which let you connect to networks the Nexus otherwise couldn’t reach. A TP-Link TL-WN722N gives you high performance WiFi that is out of the box compatible with the most popular Linux wireless tools, and the Sena UD100 is a long-range Class 1 Bluetooth adapter that will let you connect to devices at hundreds of meters. The Pwn Pad kit also includes a USB to Ethernet adapter, so even wired networks will be within your grasp.
The Nexus 7 hardware is of course something anyone can grab from Google, and since we know what additional devices are included with the Pwn Pad, you could even grab those and you’d have your own Pwn Pad. Right?
Not exactly. The Pwn Pad is running a custom ROM developed by Pwnie Express that combines an up-to-date Linux kernel (for maximum hardware compatibility) and an Ubuntu chroot environment that gives it the capability to run Linux software without having to emulate a PC environment.
Combining open source software to create new uses for existing devices is clearly what Pwnie Express does best, and the Pwn Pad is no exception. While the combination of custom firmware and off the shelf hardware isn’t in itself ground breaking, it’s the combined experience and knowledge of the Pwnie Express team that makes it into a cohesive product.
Originally the Pwn Pad wasn’t set to launch until April, but as a bit of a surprise via the Pwnie Express newsletter, it was officially made available for purchase today. You can get a Pwn Pad directly from Pwnie Express for $795.00
As Pwnie Express CEO Dave Porcello said in our 2012 interview, open source is the backbone of the Pwnie Express product line. It’s good to see a company that not only has managed to capitalize on open source software, but also has the respect for it to make sure its done right.