Hacking the Z-Wave Protocol with a HackRF

Z-wave is a wireless protocol that is used often in applications like smart home and industrial automation. It essentially allows various wireless nodes to connect and talk to one another within your house, using 900 MHz wireless technology. Some common examples of Z-wave node products might be wireless controlled lights, door locks, thermostats and other security devices like motion detectors.

Recently at Shmoocon 2016 (a yearly hacking and security themed conference), presenters Joseph Hall and Ben Ramsey showed how they were able to use a HackRF software defined radio and some GNU Radio based software to not only sniff Z-wave packets, but to also control Z-wave devices. What’s also interesting is that they found that encryption on z-wave devices was rarely enabled, except for five out of nine door locks that they tested where it was enabled by default.

See the full story at Hackaday and have a look at their code on GitHub.

Joseph and Ben holding a HackRF and z-wave controlled light.
Presenters Joseph and Ben holding a HackRF and z-wave controlled light.

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