Reverse Engineering A Mysterious UDP Stream in My Hotel

Hey everyone, I have been staying at a hotel for a while. It’s one of those modern ones with smart TVs and other connected goodies. I got curious and opened Wireshark, as any tinkerer would do.

I was very surprised to see a huge amount of UDP traffic on port 2046. I looked it up but the results were far from useful. This wasn’t a standard port, so I would have to figure it out manually.

At first, I suspected that the data might be a television stream for the TVs, but the packet length seemed too small, even for a single video frame.

This article is also available in French.

Grabbing the data

The UDP packets weren’t sent to my IP and I wasn’t doing ARP spoofing, so these packets were sent to everyone. Upon closer inspection, I found out that these were Multicast packets. This basically means that the packets are sent once and received by multiple devices simultaneously. Another thing I noticed was the fact that all of those packets were the same length (634 bytes).

I decided to write a Python script to save and analyze this data. First of all, here’s the code I used to receive Multicast packets. In the following code, is the IP I got from Wireshark.

import socket
import struct

s = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM, socket.IPPROTO_UDP)
s.setsockopt(socket.SOL_SOCKET, socket.SO_REUSEADDR, 1)
s.bind(('', 2046))

mreq = struct.pack("4sl", socket.inet_aton(""), socket.INADDR_ANY)
s.setsockopt(socket.IPPROTO_IP, socket.IP_ADD_MEMBERSHIP, mreq)

while True:
    data = s.recv(2048)

On top of this, I also used binascii to convert this to hex in order make reading the bytes easier. After watching thousands of these packets scroll through the console, I noticed that the first ~15 bytes were the same. These bytes probably indicate the protocol and the packet/command ID but I only received the same one so I couldn’t investigate those.

Audio is so LAME

It also took me an embarrassingly long time to see the string LAME3.91UUUUUUU at the end of the packets. I suspected this was MPEG compressed audio data, but saving one packet as test.mp3 failed to played with mplayer and the file utility only identified this as test.mp3: data. There was obviously data in this packet and file should know when it sees MPEG Audio data, so I decided to write another Python script to save the packet data with offsets. This way it would save the file test1 skipping 1 byte from the packet, test2 skipping 2 bytes and so on. Here’s the code I used and the result.

data = s.recv(2048)
for i in range(25):
    open("test{}".format(i), "wb+").write(data[i:])

After this, I ran file test* and voilà! Now we know we have to skip 8 bytes to get to the MPEG Audio data.

$ file test*
test0:    data
test1:    UNIF v-16624417 format NES ROM image
test10:   UNIF v-763093498 format NES ROM image
test11:   UNIF v-1093499874 format NES ROM image
test12:   data
test13:   TTComp archive, binary, 4K dictionary
test14:   data
test15:   data
test16:   UNIF v-1939734368 format NES ROM image
test17:   UNIF v-1198759424 format NES ROM image
test18:   UNIF v-256340894 format NES ROM image
test19:   UNIF v-839862132 format NES ROM image
test2:    UNIF v-67173804 format NES ROM image
test20:   data
test21:   data
test22:   data
test23:   DOS executable (COM, 0x8C-variant)
test24:   COM executable for DOS
test3:    UNIF v-1325662462 format NES ROM image
test4:    data
test5:    data
test6:    data
test7:    data
test8:    MPEG ADTS, layer III, v1, 192 kbps, 44.1 kHz, JntStereo
test9:    UNIF v-2078407168 format NES ROM image
while True:
    data = s.recv(2048)

Now all we need to do is continuously read packets, skip the first 8 bytes, write them to a file and it should play perfectly.

But what was this audio? Was this a sneakily placed bug that listened to me? Was it something related to the smart TVs in my room? Something related to the hotel systems? Only one way to find out.

$ python3 > test.mp3
* wait a little to get a recording *

$ mplayer test.mp3
MPlayer (C) 2000-2016 MPlayer Team
224 audio & 451 video codecs

Playing test.mp3.
libavformat version 57.25.100 (external)
Audio only file format detected.
Starting playback...
A:   3.9 (03.8) of 13.0 (13.0)  0.7%

The Revelation/Disappointment

What the hell? I can’t believe I spent time for this. It’s just elevator music. It is played in the hotel corridors around the elevators. Oh well, at least I can listen to it from my room now.

Articles from blogs I follow around the net

Status update, June 2019

Summer is in full swing here in Philadelphia. Last night I got great views of Jupiter and a nearly-full Moon, and my first Saturn observation of the year. I love astronomy on clear Friday nights, there’s always plenty of people coming through the city. And …

via Drew DeVault's Blog June 15, 2019

Game Engine Black Book update

The Game Engine Black Books have been updated. Free pdfs, high-quality prints, and source code are available.

via May 17, 2019

Beeps and melodies in two-way radio

via absorptions April 3, 2019

Generated by openring

Comments BETA

Page built on Wed Jun 19 10:59:57 DST 2019