Eckbox Support Page

Here is a list of tweaks and tips for the Eckbox - An Open Source van Eck Phreaker.  Note, I've not gotten this to work yet - it's for reference only.

Received E-mail on the Eckbox Project: E-Mail One

Also, be sure to view my hardware-based van Eck-style Radiation Interception Experiments.  This I have gotten to work, somewhat.

What Eckbox Is For

Eckbox is software that allows a user to remotely shoulder surf on a target computer's monitor (this is known as van Eck Phreaking).  It requires a certain amount of hardware that must be made by the user.  Instructions for building this hardware is located on Eckbox's SourceForge Project Page, although some day if I'm not lazy, it will be included in this document and the man pages too.

How To Install It

After untarring (tar xvzf eckbox-v0.9b2.tar.gz) the archive, cd to the directory eckbox and run make, and make install.

configure doesn't actually do anything.

How to Use It

First, see the Eckbox Project Page to build the hardware needed.

After that, you'll need to calibrate Eckbox.  To do this, on a separate computer, run the bw program in the eckbox directory.  This should display a screen of alternating black and white pixels on the monitor.  It helps if the monitor on the separate, target computer's resolution is the same as the resolution that you intend to be spying on.

Once you have bw running on the separate computer, place the radio from your hardware next to the separate computer's monitor, and run eckboxcalib (just typing it at the prompt will do).

Now you can just type "eckbox" at the prompt, and it will do the shoulder surfing for you.  If you experience any problems, examine your hardware, jiggle your radio, and read the man pages.

How It Will Improve Your Life

If you're a corporate spy, I'm certain you'd love to be able to book a hotel room next to a target CEO and read everything right off his laptop through the wall.

If you're a security freak, I'm sure you'll love the ability to develop hardware and software to counter this type of attack.


This is where I explain how to build the hardware necessary to utilize the Eckbox software.  Don't worry, I built mine in less than $30.

First, here are the materials you'll need: an 8-bit analog/digital (ADC) converter (available as a free sample from many online wholesalers), some wire, a (cheap) AM/FM radio, a spare speaker, a male audio connector, and a 25-pin M/F parallel port extender cable.  Some solder and a breadboard might come in handy too.

I've always been a fan of the acronym RTFM.  So get the docs that came with your specific A/D converter.  In it should be a listing of the function of each individual pin.  Locate the analog input pin, and solder it to the analog output lead of the audio connector.  The analog output is the inner wire, if you were to look at a cross-section of the wire.  Connect the outer wire of the line out to a ground.  If you've done all of this right, you should have a radio with an audio jack stuck into it, which is then giving input to your ADC.

After this, again you'll want to RTFM some more about your specific ADC to find out which pins are the 8 digital outputs.  Connect these to pins 2-9 of your 25-pin parallel port extender cable.  Be sure that output lead #8 goes to pin #9 on your parallel cable, #7 goes to #8 and so forth.  If you don't know which pins are which on your parallel port, I can help with that, just have a look at the below highly sophisticated, CAD modeled diagram of the pin labels:

    \13 12 11 10 *09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02* 01/
       \25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 / 

Ok, so at this point, you have data going into your radio, from the radio to your ADC, and out to the parallel port.  Next, we just need to tune the radio, and get some power running to it and your ADC.  I'm sure you can figure out the radio on your own, and by examining the docs on your ADC, you can figure that out too.  On the tuning, tune your radio to the highest frequency of FM that it can go that does NOT have a station.  If you have tuned it right, it will be at about 108 MHz (roughly), and white noise will be coming from its speakers.  After this, you're done. Just put the radio next to the target monitor and run Eckbox, and it will display (roughly) the image displayed on the target monitor. woot for you.

SVGA Library

Required library needed for Eckbox, which you may not have with your distribution.  For RedHat distributions, install using the command: rpm -ivh svgalib-1.4.1-9.i386.rpm

Source Directory

Source code for Eckbox v0.9b2


Links / Papers

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