Market games

Interesting sshots of BTC Markets games.

1. Forcing price to go up? (Quote) Spoofing?

One of the market kicks in simulating trades at a very high price, trying to fire an order to catch ARB on this obviously misses the orders. Both because of latency ( BTC markets serving their API through CloudFlare cause a significant delay ) and because of the fact they do it ‘locally’ – probably to force the price to move up and speculate. Or i am not reading this correctly?


IoT – The WiFi Probe REQ an RTLS. Tracking WiFi Devices for a penny.


Every WiFi enabled device that you have (laptop, phone, tablet, kindle, watch, … ) is sending a PROBE REQuest packets in background to figure out if there are any known AP’s.
It’s done transparently, wether you are in a shopping center, outside in a park, or in the mountains – it’s a continuous process.
If an AP is found the device automatically associates to let you stay online ASAP. This is built in the 802.11 protocol. (More)

Knowing that every single device is broadcasting a Probe packet i figured out that it might be interesting to place couple of ESP8266 around with sniffer mode enabled to listen to these Probe Requests and forward them to a central server for analysis. The idea behind that is to be able to track every device between zones (places where ESP8266 are located) and guess what, i had couple of hours free to code and try it out.

I placed couple of nodes in different places within the city and enabled sniffer mode that looks for 0x40 802.11 type packets (PROBE REQUEST). When a packet is received it is sent out to a central server where packets are stored and presented later on on a web page.

This time i used ESP8266 on a ‘Witty’ chip – it’s a cool 2cmx2cm sized board that has a single button, rgb led built in and obviously an USB power. Pretty cheap, you can get tons of them for almost ‘no money’.

Every single ESP8266 device in this system that listens for packets is called ZONE, so if you place 4 of them in different locations – you have 4 zones. I have placed 2 of them for tests, one in the Garage and one outside in the area where i live. This is to figure out if i can determine wether people (and at what time) travel between garage and main area, how often and at what time. Time for a start, ESP’s placed, kick started – analysis time.


The above graph shows number of packets for every hour in last 24hours, there’s a quite number of packets received as you can see, big-data time ūüėČ

As i have two zones, let’s see how active they are – meaning, when was the last packet received at which zone – this helps me out to determine the Per-zone activity and eventual down-times of the zone nodes.


You can clearly see that both zones received their last packets 2/3 seconds ago – so somebody was hanging around there with a device sending probe requests, good! Let’s move on, let’s find out¬†what is the packet per zone distribution.


Sensible, the MAIN zone that is outside in the main area of my home is definitely more active, garage makes only 6.7% of all the packets received. Let’s find out what happened in GARAGE in last 24 hours.


Ahh more graphs, more stats – fantastic. GARAGE Zone received 62 Probe packets in last 24hrs, the peak was around 7 am (where people started to jump into their cars to drive to work). ¬†In total there are 17 UNIQUE devices found, so potentially we can assume there were 17 persons in the zone. Need more info…


Brilliant, i can see which device was the most ‘popular’ one, meaning was having the biggest ratio of PROBEs sent across the 24hrs time and in total. Beside i can see live packets coming in from the ESP. Let’s look at this B0:79 – looks like the most popular one, a single click on the device and we’re entering a Device tracker sub-page where..


I can figure out that it is a Motorola device (based on MAC OUI) and


This Motorola sent 32 packets in last 24hrs, it was seen only in one zone (GARAGE) and it was most active today at 07:00 AM. Great, let’s go deeper…


Above is a confirmation of the fact that Motorola was seen only in Garage (wasn’t captured by MAIN zone) – live packets on the right hand side. But let’s see the whole history of this device shall we?


You can clearly look at each of the devices found and track it’s activitiy. What’s even more i can see the RSSI value – that tells me the distance of the device to the zone node.
This Motorola was first found today at 02:52 AM, interesting. The RSSI tells me it was probably on the opposite side of the garage (which is quite big) – meaning far away from the node! Knowing the Garage i can immediately figure out where this person was moving.

Let’s go back and¬†pick up different device.



This one is more interesting, somebody was seen in both zones with this device, i wonder at what distance and time.


First seen at 7:54 today, wen to a garage (7:55) and was pretty close to the NODE at 7:56. Then the signal is getting weaker (jumped into the car probably) as minute later the signal was lost.

As you can see a simple system that costs $3.20 for each node can be turned into a quite sensible real time location service. Knowing that a deployment of 100 of nodes is still low cost – you can imagine how this can help out in business stats, emergency tracking, and advertisement targetting systems (tv screens knowing the profiles ¬†(vendor) of candidates per week/month/season can push targeted ads). There is a big space for project like this to go live and for sale. It’s nothing new – but it’s definitely the most affordable one you can get ($3.20 for a node!).



In terms of the project – i keep it live, costs almost nothing so i’ll be adding nodes just for fun ūüėČ

Update. I recalculate RSSI to Meters (distance), it makes more sense now.



WPA Bruteforce test

Just a side note, i’ll be getting to the crackers i wrote later on – but been testing WPA update since couple of days now on WPA Handshakes and the cracker is a success.


This is a single core task – but have a Distributed Task for GridMan in place already.
The cracker goes through all WPA handshakes that i have sniffed and tries to crack them with a wordlist or a bruteforce generator.


Above a dump from a modified version of a handshake stripper, i take the airmon dump file and strip all WPA Handshakes that were found for a crack-all-at-once approach.

Ok, let’s find out what’s sitting there and let me tell you that i hate Linux support for WiFi – it’s just a mess if you need to do things quick, but as i’m left now with a Raspberry PI on the balcony that has Kali installed, there’s no other option around.

Couple of command line entries and we’re in.



Now that we know we’re in, let’s checkout the AP.

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-06 o 22.58.04

Aha! A login form, i can bet the owner didn’t even change admin password.
admin/admin is the default setting for WR340g.

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-06 o 22.59.05


Fuzzing continues

Just made a simple fuzzing strategy that shoots random characters on arguments for binary. I am testing this on my MacOSX – and it seems like it works ūüėČ
Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-05 o 23.36.23

The tool itself is dirty coded yet, however fuzzing Rez with argv0 gave

SIGSEGV 11 Invalid memory segment access (ANSI)



Blackbox – the big mystery


This is a screen shot of Hydra running live on 6 Bitcoin markets in parallel. I believe it’s the first time i post it public.¬†The social media call it¬†BlackBox – in other words – a computer running an algorithm (high frequency in this case) to find out nuances on the market and use speed to gain profits before others do. Why do they call it BlackBox? It’s obvious because nobody knows what’s going on inside that generates the profits.

At some point i got interested in financial world – but more from a tech side, not really the financial and business talks. This part of the business is called Fin-Tech and to be precise i got interested in Algorithmic Trading (Blackbox trading) and Direct Market Access.

It wasn’t just because i thought i’ll get rich in one month – i already knew playing the market is a losers approach. The thing that really got me was the Algo-trading wars that are going on behind the scenes. It’s not people who trade the markets today, it’s machines and their algorithms that fight for a penny millions times per second. And this got me, speed and competition in technology that comes with a reward.

Just to be clear, Algo Trading is not¬†Quantitative Trading – these two are coupled together at some point, but Algo Trading is the whole automated/semi automated system that does strategy, risk, portfolio and etc.. Quantitative – is the cool name for all of these that are Masters and PhD’s in maths and physics – these guys make the best algotrading strategies in the world and earn best money around.

I picked¬†BITCOINS as market data is freely available and the fees are still low. Additionally 95% of the Bitcoin markets work with REST api, so there’s no need to deep dive to FIX protocol in the beginning. Sounded like a quick learning curve, but believe me it’s not.

A spike like this can last only 1 second, above – Hydra missed the execution, somebody was faster.

I really like this name – it reflects the way the blackbox works.
The initial idea to start with algotrading was to go with a risk-free strategy called Arbitrage. In few words Рyou find out a spread (difference) between markets and if numbers are fine (after fees, transaction costs) you Buy low (cheapest market) and Sell high (most expensive market). You should always buy the same quantity as you sell for the  arbitrage to work. This is very important, as seen later on Рsometimes (due to slippage/miss) this can be very tricky.

To get things¬†done, HYDRA required to have an access to Market Data and poll it continuously without delays. So a MarketLink’s had to be implemented – these are the classes that talk to Markets via SSL (wolfssl in my case) and HTTPS.

The data required by HYDRA consists mainly of the publicly available OrderBooks for Markets (to get best offers in BID/ASK + Quantities) and my own Portfolio (Wallet) to ensure how much money and BTC i still have at each market.

HYDRA includes a simple deviation value for every market it monitors. This deviation value tells the strength of the change since last time for a given market (ASK/BID) price. Thanks to this HYDRA knows which market moved and by how much, this is useful when a decision : WHERE TO PLACE ORDER FIRST is needed.

Imagine a situation :

MarketA) BID 80 ASK 90
MarketB) BID 80 ASK 90
MarketC) BID 80 ASK 90

MarketA) BID 80 ASK 90
MarketB) BID 100 ASK 103
MarketC) BID 80 ASK 90

(Forget about quantities now)
You quickly find out that there is an arbitrage possibility between MarketA and MarketB.
You buy low (ASK 90) at MarketA and Sell high (BID 100) at Market B.

Now after calculating income you find out that executing on this you’ll earn 8$ after fees.
So you start placing order in the naive approach BUY first, SELL last.

You place a BUY order – got executed.

Meantime new data comes in
MarketA) BID 80 ASK 90
MarketB) BID 80 ASK 90
MarketC) BID 80 ASK 90

You place a SELL order  on MarketB Рmissed (not executed)

What happened? Well, MarketB “Moved” when you’ve been placing a BUY order on MarketA. This is mostly because placing order takes time.. (ssl, connect, send(), recv()).

This is common, so HYDRA takes that into consideration by calculating strength of the move (deviation) and placing the order first on the market that moved most ( in this situation, HYDRA would place a SELL first and BUY later ). See below, HYDRA missing an order when the Bid (green) spike happened (market manipulation).


So knowing that HYDRA calculates the deviation, how does actually HYDRA choose the order of the action?

It might happen that there are more than two markets at a time vulnerable for Arbitrage.
So HYDRA is calculating what is called OrderProfit by calculating a matrix between all markets and returning best profit found. This is actually pretty easy.

Hydra is calculating buy/sell profit between available markets Рtakes into account BTC quantities both at the current order book and in your wallets on the markets. Then profit matrix is sorted and best BUY/SELL markets are taken for execution.

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 22.24.39

At this moment Hydra has all it needs to get the job done – so it fires up the orders.
And here comes the trouble.


Approach 1. Buy first (higher deviation), Sell later

What if your first order is missed?
Well nothing happens, you don’t action the second one.
No loss.

What if your first order is slipped
You need to adjust your sell order QTY to ensure you don’t oversell.
Partial loss.

What if your second order is missed?
Well nothing you can do, you bought but didn’t sell.

What if your second order is slipped?
Well you didn’t loose but earned a bit less.
Partial loss.


Approach 2. Sell first (higher deviation), Buy First

What if your first order is missed?
Nothing, do not action the second one.
No loss.

What if your first order is slipped?
So you sold less than you expected? Ensure that you buy enough to cover the profit.
Partial loss.

What if your second order is missed?
Pity, you sold without a Buy.

What if your second order is slipped?
You sold QTY but bought less – unfortunately you’re a bit lost.
Partial Loss.

So as you see, there are couple possible things that can happen and HYDRA takes them all into consideration. Bare in mind you need to include FEES in order to get out from cases like that with a profit (if possible).

Zrzut ekranu 2016-01-11 o 20.59.11

Above Hydra owning the markets.

Additionally thing like socket that hangs on recv() can happen too, so you this needs to be taken into consideration too ūüôā

Ok this was very briefly, i don’t want to make a long post here – let’s treat this as an introduction to HYDRA. I want to describe more details and how did i approached them all in next posts. But by looking into this intro i hope you start to see the challenge and fun in coding a blackbox from scratch.

And if you ask, the GUI – i had to made it myself earlier before. I used it a lot for a Raytracing tool on GridMan.

Hydra was supposed to run on a dedicated (VPS) machine as close as i could get to a markets. So it is using a direct frame buffer operations to render the pixels on the screen – this later on is turned into a PNG file and displayed on the web page for monitoring. However at the beginning i ran it on Raspberry PI at home. This gave an option to click through the GUI and play a bit.

After running it for a couple of days i decided to move to VPS due to network latency issues i had on PI. Secondly Hydra became fully automated – so there was no need for a PANIC button at all :).

It all starts with a single pixel ūüôā

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 22.50.55


Hope you liked it, stay tuned for more!


Recently i turned my attention to security, but this time i took a peak into what’s called Fuzzing.

Long story short, fuzzing is mainly brute force vulnerability detection and has a lot of categories. Take a look here. What caught my attention is fuzz testing Web applications and local binaries (mainly black box /grey box fuzzing).

I am total noob in this area, never tried it and never seen a fuzzer doing a good job – however interested in this area i have a low power distributed approach idea somewhere behind.

Just started to read a great book on the topic check it out.

As always, there are some basics that i’ll be focusing on at the start.

  1. Fuzzing arguments passed to suid binary, you just randomly generate a set of characters and put them into binary arguments to discover eventual input handling issues.
  2. Fuzzing WEB applications, this is a bigger topic however here i would like to focus mainly on SQL injection discovery, directory traversal, and POST/GET argument fuzzing.

The whole fuzzing area is wide but i have decided to pick up two pretty major destinations to see if i come up with something interesting. Ideally i would like to be able to write a vulnerable binary, fuzz it and get back with some results. Finally i am thinking of getting this stuff distributed, as it is known fuzzing can take some time Рit would be good to pack it all up with GridMan.

So let’s treat this as an intro, i will be posting in Security/Fuzzing area some updates as i go through the learning curve.

Fingers x.

Spooky and PS_POLL incident

Just placed a new Spooky at my apartment on the balcony.
Btw, every time a blue internal led blinks – it means Spooky has parsed a packet.

And guess what next?


Just got a notification after couple of hours running of a PS_POLL traveling from unknown to unknown.

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 20.22.17

A PS_POLL frame indicates (in shortcut) that some device went sleep and checks at some point wether there is any packet queued on the AP to be received.

To assist stations with power saving, Access Points (APs) are designed to buffer frames for a station when that station is in power save mode and to transmit them later to the station when the AP knows the station will listen. When a station is in power save mode, it turns off its transmitter and receiver to preserve energy. It takes less power for a station to turn its receiver on to listen to frames than to turn it its transmitter on to transmit frames. For this reason, it’s more power-efficient for an AP to inform a station if it has buffered frames present on the AP than to have the station poll the AP querying if frames are present.

…if its sees that the AP has buffered frames for it, it must send a Power Save Poll (PS-Poll) control frame to retrieve each buffered frame on the AP

So far so good, but i don’t recognize source and destination here.
First let’s find out if there is any packet flying over WiFi with these¬†MAC addresses.

root@kali:~# airodump-ng wlan0mon

Comes back with
Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 20.47.07

It doesn’t ring a bell, this is not my AP, Spooky is monitoring for¬†A4:2B:8C:18:59:BA.
So it looks like a station (18:E2:C2:21:BE:68) is sending PS_POLL to AP(DC:53:7C:99:E8:97) and has my BSSID(A4:2B:8C:18:59:BA)..

Let’s find out if i can sniff 18:E2 in the air…

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 21.08.40

And this station is certainly associated with the strange AP.

Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 21.09.10

A quick MAC Vendor check returns
Zrzut ekranu 2016-08-04 o 21.09.58

So most probably this is a phone.
Still i don’t understand why is it trying to push PS_POLL to my BSSID ?

Let’s mark this as “Investigation in progress”.