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Linux and generic USB devices


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Sometimes you come across a generic USB drive and the drive doesn't have a unique serial number in the firmware. I know that if one of these devices is plugged in to a Windows machine that it will generate a serial number for the USB drive and it will be identifiable as a generated serial number because it will contain a "&" in the second position of the serial number. I also know that different route hosts on the same machine will generate a different serial number for the same USB drive on the same Windows machine.

I also know that Ubuntu will store USB device information in the var/log/syslog file. My question is if a generic USB device is plugged into linux, will it generate a serial number for the device in the same way that windows does? Will it also generate a different serial for the same USB drive through different USB ports?

I'd try this myself to get the answer but out of all of the USB drives I have all of them have actual serial numbers. -.-

Thanks for your time!

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That is an interesting question. Could you elaborate more on the Windows side as I am curious. Are you sure it's a serial number or just a unique GUID for say USB Store to recognize it again?

I will see if some of my thumb drives I've collected show anything.

Update: I plugged in a lot of USBs and only 1 didnt show me a serial. It came up with (error).

When I plugged in 3 different HASP dongles, it did not show a serial for any of them.

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So here is a picture showing a USB device plugged into my system at some point that had no serial number. I have a feeling it was a USB device that I had a live boot Kali linux on, although I'm not sure.

Anyway, if you look at the highlighted USB device, you'll see the "&" in the second position which means that the drive didn't have a serial number associated with it. From what I've learned in my digital forensics class I'm taking, if I were to plug that same USB device into a different USB port on my PC then windows should generate a totally new serial number for that same USB drive. Now, I've plugged in ALL of my USB drives that I own, and nothing has produced that result. Maybe my professor is wrong, or maybe Windows 10 is different than what he is accustomed to, or maybe I just don't have that USB drive setup the same way anymore.

But this is what sparked my interest about linux.


Edited by Batman
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Update: I plugged in a lot of USBs and only 1 didnt show me a serial. It came up with (error).

When I plugged in 3 different HASP dongles, it did not show a serial for any of them.

Did all of these come with the error instead of a serial number? That'd be interesting if Linux just doesn't care about serial numbers for USB devices.

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Only one of my USB Flash drives said error in lsusb -v

The HASP dongles (3 different kinds) were blank.

I wouldn't call those serial numbers in USBSTOR, they are more unique identifiers for the OS that is genereated. Kind of like a SID. It's so it can remember it was once plugged in and what drive letter it had/has.

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I just checked with a USB device I just plugged into my computer - a Sandisk micro 32GB usb drive. You can see the serial number listed in the registery, and then I double checked it using wmic. They match. I did the same thing on my GF's Windows 7 computer and they also matched.

Gonna check now on my Kali box to see what it comes up with for the same USB drive.

EDIT: Just plugged in the same USB drive to my Kali Laptop (totally different machine) and using lsusb -v the iSerial is listed as 4C530001110925102182. Matches the Windows Serial for it.

Do you have a Windows machine to check what windows will assign to the HASP dongles you have?

EDIT2: I tried doing this with my USB Rubber Ducky.. my Kali laptop left the serial number blank and the Windows 10 Desktop assigned it a serial with the "&" in the second position... see the rubber ducky jpg.

The output of the lsusb -v for the Kali box was

Bus 002 Device 006: ID 03eb:2422 Atmel Corp.
Device Descriptor:
bLength 18
bDescriptorType 1
bcdUSB 2.00
bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level)
bDeviceSubClass 0
bDeviceProtocol 0
bMaxPacketSize0 64
idVendor 0x03eb Atmel Corp.
idProduct 0x2422
bcdDevice 1.00
iManufacturer 1 Ducky
iProduct 2 HID Keyboard and MSC
iSerial 0
bNumConfigurations 1



Edited by Batman
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Ah well thanks for trying. Haha. I found out the answer I was looking for anyway. It seems linux doesn't assign it anything if it doesn't already have one. I got lucky with my ducky in that it wasn't associated with one. :)

Thanks for your time, Mr-Protocol!

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