Grooming the Kitten (or cleaning up possible malware from a USB using Raspberry PI)

OMG! A post mentioning kittens and GitHub, I’m really turning into a geek!
Or not. Because that’s (one of) the great thing(s) about Kitten Groomer, you don’t have to be a geek to use it.


OK let’s back up there…

Being involved in CryptoParties, seeing the problems of “normal” people, and the experience of my own learning curve with tech have resulted in a growing interest in “simple” solutions to geeky “problems”. So I’ve been checking out so-called Live operating systems or distributions such as Tails or Liberté Linux which aim to offer anonymous use of the Internet – however they are certainly not simple…(though I did manage to download and use Tails all on my ownsome following the instructions)

Raphael, a fellow organiser of CryptoParties in Luxembourg, is most certainly an über-geek, and one who puts his code where his mouth is when it comes to promoting accessible tools for the average tech user, taking Crypto out of hackerspaces and into the pub. And he’s been working on Kitten Groomer, as “simple needs need simple solutions”. Coming out of a conversation between writer Quinn Norton and designer/developer/creator @geekmaya who wrote the first version of the Groomer:

This project aims to be used by someone receiving a USB key from an unknown source and who wants to see the content on it without opening the original and potentially malicious files.

The code runs on a Raspberry Pi which means it is never required to plug nor open the original USB key on a computer.

It does not require any technical prerequisites of any kind and can be used by anyone.

The Raspberry Pi is a cheap and widely available device with a big user base so it’s a good choice for Kitten Groomer, which actually runs simply once installed. Basically you plug the suspicious USB into the top port and a larger clean USB into the bottom port and let the Kitten get on with grooming. All the details for use and downloading are available on the website of CIRCLean, a version Raphael put together for his day job at CIRCL (Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg).

It still needs to be easier to install for non-geeks but that should be resolved very shortly. I’ll be helping out with documentation of the installation and use to make sure that even Luddites like myself will be able to get and use it. And if you’ve got any ideas for a logo, please get in touch.

With so much malware around, and plenty of malware being used for surveillance purposes, Kitten Groomer can be a quick and easy way to get some protection.

All comments/criticism should be directed to Raphael 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *