ZigBee Security Research Toolkit: KillerBee

KillerBee framework is a tool for attacking ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4 networks.

KillerBee is designed to simplify the process of sniffing packets from the air interface or a supported packet capture file (libpcap or Daintree SNA), and for injecting arbitrary packets. Helper functions including IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee NWK and ZigBee APS packet decoders are available as well.

Since KillerBee is a Python library, it integrates well with other Python software as well. For example, the Sulley library is a fuzzing framework written in Python by Pedram Amini. Using the Sulley mutation features and KillerBee’s packet injection features, it is staightforward to build a mechanism for generating and transmitting malformed ZigBee data to a target.



KillerBee is developed and tested on Linux systems. OS X usage is possible but not supported. We have striven to use a minimum number of software dependencies, however, it is necessary to install the following Python modules before installation:

  • serial
  • usb
  • crypto (for some functions)
  • pygtk (for use of tools that have GUIs)
  • cairo (for use of tools that have GUIs)
  • scapy-com (for some tools which utilize 802.15.4 Scapy extensions)


On Ubuntu systems, you can install the needed dependencies with the following commands:

# apt-get install python-gtk2 python-cairo python-usb python-crypto python-serial python-dev libgcrypt-dev
# hg clone
# cd scapy-com
# python install

The python-dev and libgcrypt are required for the Scapy Extension Patch.

Also note that this is a fairly advanced and un-friendly attack platform. This is not Cain & Abel. It is intended for developers and advanced analysts who are attacking ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4 networks. Understanding of the ZigBee protocol and familiarity with the Python language are required before digging into this framework.


Required Hardware

The KillerBee framework is being expanded to support multiple devices. Currently there is support for the River Loop ApiMote, Atmel RZ RAVEN USB Stick, MoteIV Tmote Sky, TelosB mote, and Sewino Sniffer.

Support for Freaklab’s Freakduino with added hardware and the Dartmouth arduino sketch, Zigduino, and Sewio Sniffer board is available but are not listed below as they are not maintained.



KillerBee includes several tools designed to attack ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4 networks, built using the KillerBee framework. Each tool has its own usage instructions documented by running the tool with the “-h” argument, and summarized below.

  • zbid – Identifies available interfaces that can be used by KillerBee and associated tools.
  • zbwireshark – Similar to zbdump but exposes a named pipe for real-time capture and viewing in Wireshark.
  • zbdump – A tcpdump-like took to capture IEEE 802.15.4 frames to a libpcap or Daintree SNA packet capture file. Does not display real-time stats like tcpdump when not writing to a file.
  • zbreplay – Implements a replay attack, reading from a specified Daintree DCF or libpcap packet capture file, retransmitting the frames. ACK frames are not retransmitted.
  • zbstumbler – Active ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4 network discovery tool. Zbstumbler sends beacon request frames out while channel hopping, recording and displaying summarized information about discovered devices. Can also log results to a CSV file.
  • zbpanidconflictflood – Requires two killerbee interfaces one killerbee interface listens for packets and marks their PAN ID. The other interface constantly sends out beacon packets with found PAN ID’s. The beacon packets with the same PAN ID cause the PAN coordinator to believe that there is a PAN ID conflict, and the coordinator begins the process of realigning the network on a new PAN ID. The process repeats ad nauseum. Typically, network devices can’t keep up with the rapid change and after several seconds the network falls apart.
              _NO TARGETING BUILT IN_ This may *destroy* all zigbee networks
              within range on the channel you are performing the attack on. Use
              with caution.
  • zborphannotify – Spoofs an orphan notification packet from the target device to a PAN Coordinator to test Coordinator behavior.
  • zbrealign – Spoofs an 802.15.4 PAN Realignment frame from the coordinator to a target device. May be able to reset the device’s PAN ID or Channel
  • zbfakebeacon – Spoofs beacon frames, either spamming them or on response to seeing a beacon request come through.
  • zbopenear – Assists in data capture where devices are operating on multiple channels or fast-frequency-hopping. It assigns multiple interfaces sequentially across all channels.
  • zbassocflood – Repeatedly associate to the target PANID in an effort to cause the device to crash from too many connected stations.
  • zbconvert – Convert a packet capture from Libpcap to Daintree SNA format, or vice-versa.
  • zbdsniff – Captures ZigBee traffic, looking for NWK frames and over-the-air key provisioning. When a key is found, zbdsniff prints the key to stdout. The sample packet capture sample/zigbee-network-key-ota.dcf can be used to demonstrate this functionality.
  • zbfind – A GTK GUI application for tracking the location of an IEEE 802.15.4 transmitter by measuring RSSI. Zbfind can be passive in discovery (only listen for packets) or it can be active by sending Beacon Request frames and recording the responses from ZigBee routers and coordinators. If you get a bunch of errors after starting this tool, make sure your DISPLAY variable is set properly. If you know how to catch these errors to display a reasonable error message, please drop me a note.
  • zbgoodfind – Implements a key search function using an encrypted packet capture and memory dump from a legitimate ZigBee or IEEE 802.15.4 device. This tool accompanies Travis Goodspeed’s GoodFET hardware attack tool, or other binary data that could contain encryption key information such as bus sniffing with legacy chips (such as the CC2420). Zbgoodfind’s search file must be in binary format (obj hexfile’s are not supported). To convert from the hexfile format to a binary file, use the objcopy tool: objcopy -I ihex -O binary mem.hex mem.bin
  • zbwardrive – Discovers available interfaces and uses one to inject beacon requests and listen for respones across channels. Once a network is found on a channel, it assigns another device to continuously capture traffic on that channel to a PCAP file. Scapy must be installed to run this.
  • zbscapy – Provides an interactive Scapy shell for interacting via a KillerBee interface. Scapy must be installed to run this.

Additional tools, that are for special cases or are not stable, are stored in the Api-Do project repository: zigbee-security and at beekeeperwids.


ZigBee Security Research Toolkit: KillerBee Download

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