We’ve already seen plenty of instances where gamers have run Google Stadia on the wildest devices – even on an Android Auto head unit. The level of modding and customization that fans of a piece of hardware will go to is truly inspiring. Today in my Google Discover feed, I happened upon a guy who got a popular version of Linux called Ubuntu running on a second-generation Nest Hub!
Check this out – below, we have Frédéric Basse – a security researcher who lives in California, breaking secure boot on Google’s smart home display, and breaking down the hardware and software attack vector for what I assume is are penetration test purposes. Basically, he set it up to where he could run code on it, and used a Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller to exploit a USB bug in the bootloader.
Before you get any ideas, the USB vulnerability for your piece of hardware may have already been patched back in 2019. Even still, I’m not going to go into details on the process because it’s complicated and way over my head. Luckily, Frédéric did report this to Google so that it could no longer be exploited, and only after doing so, he made his blog post public.
It’s so cool to see Ubuntu running on such a small display, and while I’m not even sure why you’d want to do this, as you can’t even plug in a mouse and keyboard to navigate it, it’s just one of those things you wake up to and say to yourself – “I love the internet, and people are amazing”.
Oh, and you won’t need to worry about a hacker doing this to your Nest Hub or gaining entry into your data, because the exploit requires physical access to the Hub, as well as additional hardware, and the wires remain exposed. If something like this were to take place, it would be instantly noticeable.