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Old 12-17-2016, 12:38 AM   #1
very_rude_Turnip
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New Kobo Aura owner: How do I hack this thing?

Hello!

I am new Kobo Aura owner. This is my first ereader, and I'm a total noob to ereaders in general. Before today, I didn't even know what the difference between epub and mobi formats was.

I heard that Kobo was more hacker friendly than Kindles, and I'm aware of Amazon's past history of evils (The 2009 Orwellian incident, their ToS/licenses, et cetera), so I figured Kobo was the way to go.

I am native Linux command line user and general hacker type, and I'm very familiar with embedded ARM devices. Very technically literate in this area (Android, DDWRT).

I am also very privacy/security conscious. I intend to load in files via rsync and probably will never even allow this thing internet access (I'll block it at the firewall once I figure out what it's MAC address is).

But I'm a noob. Where do I start?

I've been reading FAQs and other stuff here on the mobileread site, but a lot of stuff is ancient from 2010 and no longer relevant.



This thing seems really insistent that it connects to the internet right away so that it can rat out my location and register/upgrade itself. Can I get around that?

How do I ssh into this thing? Looks like I will need to install dropbear myself somehow.

Are there alternative reader apps? What do you use?

Is there an alternative/custom OS for these devices? Patches?

Is there any Linux desktop apps/tools I should know about? Looks like there was once a native Linux app, but it's gone now. I guess Calibre is the current app to use? I already downloaded and am tinkering with it right now. I have Windows and OSX available too, but I'd prefer to use Linux where possible.




If you have any advice for me, I would appreciate it, even if it's not something I posted above. Thanks in advance!

I will post anything I learn back here for others to use in the future.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:06 AM   #2
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This looks promising:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=223155

I also found a lot of hacking documents, but I'm not sure what I should do first. I will keep reading before I actually do anything. I'm not sure how I would recover if I f*k up the OS. This model does not have an sdcard and no reset button that I am aware of.

http://wikisec.free.fr/mobile/kobo.html

https://www.preining.info/blog/2013/...-the-kobo-glo/

https://www.preining.info/blog/2013/...-the-kobo-glo/
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:09 AM   #3
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Getting past the forced registration process was easy enough, though it's very sleazy that Kobo forced you to do this.

As others said, you can edit the sqlite DB on the device directly to bypass registration.

Plug the device into your linux system and mount the vfat filesystem.

Let's say I mount it at /mnt/kobo

Run:
sqlite3 /mnt/kobo/.kobo/KoboReader.sqlite

delete from user;
insert into user values ('','','','','','','','','','','','','','','','',' ','');
.quit

That's it. Dismount and unplug the USB. Reboot the device if needed, but it seemed to auto-boot at that point.

I tried putting in some fake data instead of just blank values, but the device freaked out with an error and looks like it auto-restored itself after assuming corruption.
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:02 AM   #4
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You wait for the patches to be available and you stop posting in multiple threads about bypassing registration. It's not all that important. Only paranoid people need apply.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:43 AM   #5
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no need to "hack" the reader. If you use it whilst waering a tinfoil hat, you will be safe.

However, what you must not do, under any circumstances, is to post in a public forum. If you do that, "they" will know that you are out there and try to hack ereaders and "they" will come after you.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:15 PM   #6
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Ah the local self-appointed religion police have arrived. Welcome!
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:28 PM   #7
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I popped the back plate off of my new Aura off yesterday. It looks like hacking will be pretty easy, though I'm not sure I want to have to pop the back off very often.

I had read that some newer models had the NAND flash soldered onto the board, but mine is a Sandisk sdcard in a slot. So I pulled the card out, dd copied it, and I can restore if I do anything really bad that makes it stop booting.

There is a well-marked ttl level serial port on the back. uboot is accessible and allows for interrupting boot. You can log into a root shell onto the running system without a password. It's basically open for business.

I will spend some time playing with the console, and then investigate the patch set published by geoffr here: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=260100
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:46 PM   #8
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Something I've noticed about the serial console: The system shuts it down shortly after boot is completed, likely to save power. If the USB power is plugged in, it turns back on again.

So if you want to use the serial console, make sure the USB power is plugged in.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:36 AM   #9
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Ah the local self-appointed religion police have arrived. Welcome!
Who mentioned religion?
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Old 12-20-2016, 02:31 PM   #10
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The Turnip is happily talking to himself, figuring things out and posting information that might be useful to other users.

I don't understand others popping in just to leave rude comments.
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Old 12-20-2016, 02:46 PM   #11
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The Turnip is happily talking to himself, figuring things out and posting information that might be useful to other users.

I don't understand others popping in just to leave rude comments.
+1

More power to him
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:01 PM   #12
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The Turnip is happily talking to himself, figuring things out and posting information that might be useful to other users.

I don't understand others popping in just to leave rude comments.
The problem is that he hasn't posted anything useful or new except maybe in the serial connection thread. And if he is going to accuse people of "religious posts" he should be careful not to be first. He is the only one who recently about about how much the big companies are out to get us. If that isn't a religious statement, I don't know what is.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:46 AM   #13
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The problem is that he hasn't posted anything useful or new except maybe in the serial connection thread.
Maybe it would have been a good idea to steer him to the threads containing these discussions and bring him into the wider community. His original posts were at least a day apart. There was ample opportunity to do so.

And were those discussions about the Aura Edition 2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
And if he is going to accuse people of "religious posts" he should be careful not to be first. He is the only one who recently about about how much the big companies are out to get us. If that isn't a religious statement, I don't know what is.
If he wants to believe the megacorps are out to get him, what's the harm? His isn't the only thread I've seen regarding skipping the registration process on a Kobo. If his is the only recent thread, maybe it's because he hadn't seen those older ones?

I dunno. I don't want to call out other users, but the first non-Turnip posts seemed unnecessarily dick-ish and unhelpful to a new user who seems enthusiastic and probably could contribute to general Kobo hackery, which is a benefit to all.

I'll drop it here. I don't want to anger everyone. Just be nice. At least until you have a rapport with the guy.
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:30 PM   #14
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Maybe it would have been a good idea to steer him to the threads containing these discussions and bring him into the wider community. His original posts were at least a day apart. There was ample opportunity to do so.

And were those discussions about the Aura Edition 2?

If he wants to believe the megacorps are out to get him, what's the harm? His isn't the only thread I've seen regarding skipping the registration process on a Kobo. If his is the only recent thread, maybe it's because he hadn't seen those older ones?

I dunno. I don't want to call out other users, but the first non-Turnip posts seemed unnecessarily dick-ish and unhelpful to a new user who seems enthusiastic and probably could contribute to general Kobo hackery, which is a benefit to all.

I'll drop it here. I don't want to anger everyone. Just be nice. At least until you have a rapport with the guy.
Sorry, but his first post with any information in it, included his "religious" opinion about registering the devices. His first post outside this thread was less than 15 minutes later, posted the same information and revived a 18 month old. Neither post actually added any information we didn't know and ignored later discussion on the same topic related to more recent firmware. His next post, 10 minutes later, was to revive a six month old thread and the only content in the was how bad an idea using false registration info was. i.e. Spreading his "religious" opinion.

The rudest post in this thread is from the Turnip. My only request is that he practices what he preaches and that he follows the rules of this forum. Specifically: no multiple posts of the same, no reviving old threads.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:25 PM   #15
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