Posts Tagged ‘Android’

BackTrack 5 in chroot on Android

March 22, 2012 14 comments

I just did something that I still can’t quite believe. I got BackTrack 5 running on my Android phone (a Driod Incredible 2) and tablet (Nook Tablet). Not only that, I can’t believe how easy it was!

Although there is an ARM port of BackTrack (most Android devices use ARM processors), it probably won’t just boot up natively on your phone. But a couple of users on XDA-Developers came up with a convenient script to automate starting BackTrack 5 on Android in a chroot environment, and shrunk the BackTrack image file to make it small enough to fit on a FAT32 partition (the standard BackTrack ARM image is larger than the 4GB single-file limit). This allows BackTrack to run alongside the existing Android system, which I think is actually better than running BackTrack natively since you can still use your phone as a phone when you’re done with BackTrack.

I’m running Cyanogenmod 7 on both devices, and as far as I can tell, this should work as advertised for any CM7 installation that mounts the external SD card as /sdcard. If you aren’t running Cyanogenmod, or your SD card doesn’t mount as /sdcard, your milage may vary. First, a couple of caveats. You must:

*Be rooted
*Have a proper busybox install
*Be able to “su” from the command line
Have a terminal program installed
*Have ext2 support (use “cat /proc/filesystems” at a superuser command
prompt – you should see ext2 listed)
Have a VNC viewer installed
Be connected to a WiFi network (BackTrack won’t see a cellular data
connection as a valid network device)

The items with stars above should come along for the ride by running Cyanogenmod 7. I had previously installed a terminal program (the cleverly named “Terminal Emulator”) and was connected to a WiFi network, so my prep time was about two minutes to find a VNC viewer (the equally well-named androidVNC).

The only hard part was getting the BackTrack 5 files. The original thread from XDA-Developers is here with additional background here. I was only able to get one of the mirror sites to work. If you can’t get any of the mirrors to work, try googling for the filename –

Once you have the file, decompress it to get the bt5 folder out. It should be about 3.25 gigs. Copy that to your SD card. Open your terminal and type the following:

cd /sdcard/bt5
sh bt

Backtrack should start up and ask you if you want to start a VNC server. Once past that, you are at BackTrack’s command line. You can run command line tools (like Metasploit’s MSF Console) from here, or SSH to it from another system on the network. Even better than that, if you answered yes to the VNC server, you can use the VNC client on your phone or on another system to connect to the Gnome desktop session (address:, port: 5901, user and password are root – change the address as needed for external connections). It couldn’t be much more simple than that.

Categories: Network Tags: , , ,

Nook tablet FTW!

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I finally gave in last week and bought a Nook Tablet. After spending all of 10 minutes checking out the stock interface, I rooted it using Snowball-mod. It strips the tablet down pretty close to the barebones Android system, and provides root-level access. Having the ability to ssh both from and to my mobile device is awesome. It makes me feel like I’m carrying a tiny Linux box around in my pocket (which is pretty accurate).

The folks over at XDA-Developers (where the Snowball-mod instructions are located) are pretty amazing. You should check out the site if you are interested in hacking on mobile devices.

Even with the stripped down Nook, I’ll be installing CyanogenMod as soon as it is available for the Nook Tab. I’ve been running it on my phones for a couple of years, and I’m quite happy with it.

Categories: Tech Tags: , ,