Reverse Engineering Signals with the Universal Radio Hacker Software

Thanks to RTL-SDR.com reader M Kizan who notified us about a Python based digital signal reverse engineering software program called ‘Universal Radio Hacker’ which is developed by Johannes Pohl. The software supports hardware interfaces for SDRs such as the RTL-SDR and HackRF and can be run on Windows, MacOS and Linux.

The Universal Radio Hacker is a software for investigating unknown wireless protocols. Features include

  • hardware interfaces for common Software Defined Radios
  • easy demodulation of signals
  • assigning participants to keep overview of your data
  • customizable decodings to crack even sophisticated
  • encodings like CC1101 data whitening
  • assign labels to reveal the logic of the protocol
  • fuzzing component to find security leaks
  • modulation support to inject the data back into the system

Inspectrum and Waveconverter are two similar programs for analyzing digital signals, however Universal Radio Hacker seems to be the most advanced.

Johannes has also uploaded four tutorial videos to YouTube which show the software in action. In the videos he uses Universal Radio Hacker to reverse engineer a wirelessly controlled power socket, and then in the last video he uses the software to transmit the reverse engineered signals via a HackRF.

9 comments

  1. Bill

    OK, a newbie question for this program and python with windows. Loaded up python 3.6.0 installer and everything indicated a good install. went to the folder with the urh-master and the only thing I saw to run was the “setup.py” which I ran and it opened up a command window, closed and that was it. What am I missing to get the program running.
    Thx

    • admin

      There’s install instructions for Windows on the GitHub

      Windows

      Install Visual C++ Build Tools.
      Install Python 3 for Windows. Choose a 64 Bit version!
      (Optional) Open a terminal (cmd) and type: pip install numpy – This speeds the installation up a bit.
      In a terminal, type: pip install urh.
      Type urh in a terminal or search for urh in search bar.

  2. Fred

    I installed GNURADIO on my Windows 7 for that purpose but when launching gqrx.exe, it crashed and gives me a 0xc000001d error. Bummer…
    I guess we aren’t there yet.

  3. Jerome

    The author tolds on the issues board of the project, that RTL-SDR is not natively supported. One must use a GnuRadio backend (see bug #139). Any volounteers is needed to add native rlt-sdr support !

    • Brad

      Thanks to Jerome for the update here, and thanks to Johannes Pohl and the other contributors for all the hard work on Universal Radio Hacker software! I now have URH recording signals under Windows 10 (64bit) with native support of RTL-SDR dongle. I am looking forward to the day I can use URH with my SDRPLAY.

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