Welcome back to our ongoing series on hardware hacking and our second lesson. Last month we presented “Lesson 1: Beauty, Your Home Lab and Basic Electronics” with an appreciative nod to this fine art, the essential components needed to try this at home and some helpful tutorials to quickly get you up to speed. We also made a distinction between classical and security-focused hardware hacking. So before we drag you into the deep waters and forcing devices to reveal their secrets, we’ll focus on having a smoother transition from noob to necromancer!
To get our feet wet, we’re going to start with a bit of classical hardware hacking. My keyboard, like most, has 3 green indicator LEDs above the number pad; let’s change their color. Additionally, since Linux can do some fun stuff with the scroll lock LED, let’s make that LED have a rainbow effect as a gaudy Linux notification light. Along the way, we’ll cover some core concepts for hardware hacking, learn the importance of breaking large problems into smaller ones, and eventually we’ll make an 80s era keyboard spit rainbows on command with Linux.