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Hacking the Motorola A780

A780 Motorola

The Motorola A780 is a Linux based quad-band GSM phone. Kernel hacker Harald Welte has picked up one of these phones and started poking around in the system. The first thing of note is that the phone doesn't use the typical lightweight tools found in most embedded systems. Instead of busybox or uClibc it uses their heavier counterparts. The phone also has a 2.4 kernel and switching to the 2.6 kernel is a long term goal. Harald has successfully built a compatible toolchain and has netfilter/iptables running on the A780. It should be possible to construct a firewall between the GPRS and the USB connection. Other hackers are working on adding the stock Linux Bluetooth codebase; this may be one of the first phones supporting A2DP stereo headsets. The future looks bright for hackers with new exploitable features emerging everyday like JTAG pads for both processors and debugging callbacks built into the factory code. Harald Welte will be presenting these and future discoveries at the 22nd Chaos Communication Congress in December.

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