Unleash your smart-home devices: Vacuum Cleaning Robot Hacking

Why is my vacuum as powerful as my smartphone?

Dennis Giese and DanielAW

Playlists: '34c3' videos starting here / audio / related events

Did you ever want to run your own IoT cloud on your IoT devices? Or did you ever wonder what data your vacuum cleaning robot is transmitting to the vendor? Why a vacuum cleaning robot needs tcpdump?
Nowadays IoT devices are getting more and more powerful and contain a lot of sensors. As most devices are connected directly to the vendor and transmit all data encrypted to the cloud, this may result in privacy issues. An IoT device with no internet connection lacks numerous features or is even unusable. We want to change that.

We show you how to root a Xiaomi vacuum cleaning robot in order to get access to the underlying Linux operating system(Ubuntu 14.04 LTS), **without opening the device or tampering the warranty seals**. Furthermore, we will have a look into the vendors cloud interface and its commands, and will show you how to de-attach the device from the cloud and connect it to your local Smart Home system. Finally, we will demonstrate how to run Smart Home software directly on the vacuum cleaning robot itself.

We will give you a detailed tour through the hardware and software components of the Xiaomi vacuum robot (generation 1). We will also publish a non-invasive method to get root access to your vacuum robot.

After talking about the rooting procedure, we will discuss the internals of the robot. For example, the robot uses a so called SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) system with LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and various other sensors to create maps of your apartment. These maps are used, among other things, to calculate the best cleaning path. We will show you what these maps look like and how they are stored in the robot. At the end, we will discuss which data are created and uploaded to the vendor, and why this may be a big privacy issue. We will also prove why it is a bad idea to leave IoT devices in an unconfigured state.

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