Where do we begin?

A project log for Hacking an Iris 3000 Videophone

This project has to do with my attempt of gaining full access to an ACN Iris 3000 videophone.

The SycoraxThe Sycorax 12/11/2020 at 18:510 Comments

Like I said in the description of this project, I had bought an ACN Iris 3000 for $10 at a thrift shop. I had bought it in January of 2020 because around that time I was into re-purposing costumer electronics to take full advantage of their hardware and software capabilities. Assuming that the device ran on some form of Linux, and that it could be accessed through conventional means, I decided to turn it into a full on project. My assumption was right, and I found out that this device not only runs Linux but that it can also be accessed very easily.

A simple Google search of "ACN iris 300 hack" led me to a Hackaday article published in November of 2012 about a project called "Phonetendo" by someone who goes by the username "AUTUIN". The Hackaday article outlines how AUTUIN was able to telnet into a root shell on the ACN Iris 3000, gaining complete access to it's internal Linux operating system. The article further goes on to explain that AUTUIN was then able to load the RootFS of Debian Linux to an SD card, insert it into the SD card slot of their ACN Iris 3000, and then use the "pivot_root" command to switch over from the internal RootFS to the SD card loaded with the new one. According to the article, AUTUIN then developed a small game that can be played on the device using the new RootFS. For those who don't know RootFS means Root Filesystem

The Hackaday article then led me to a Blogspot article, published by AUTUIN, which gives great detail on his project, including the information that he was able to find out about the ACN Iris 3000 regarding it's hardware and software capabilities, and then using that as a means to completely reverse engineer the device. This article was a very important resource for what I wanted to do, however more research was needed because the article dose not explain a step by step process that AUTUIN took for loading the RootFS of Debian Linux to an SD card, nor dose it include the commands needed for switching over the internal OS of the ACN Iris 3000 to it. 

As a side note, the Blogspot site which his article is published on has not seen activity since 2014 and is not owned by AUTUIN but rather by a non-profit community organization called  Free Geek Vancouver. I know this has nothing to do with my project but they're a pretty cool organization with principles based on Free and Open Source Software, Reducing Environmental Impact of E-waste, and Transparent Consensus-Based Organization. Here's a link to their website if you want to check them out

Aside from all of that, I still needed to gain a root shell in order to access the device. Luckily AUTUIN  provided a link in his Blogspot article to a forum thread which provides a wealth of information for doing just that.

[To be continued in next log entry...]