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Kobo Aura H2O hacking

September, 2017

Recently I bought a book that turned out to be not quite of the quality I was expecting. To minimize such disappointment in the future, I bought an e-reader to proof-read books before buying them. I got the Kobo Aura H2O (second edition), which turned out to be neatly hackable!

These days every device requires you to create an account before you can use it. If you're like me, you just want to slap a PDF on the device and read it, without having to deal with this crap.

There are a lot of Kobo-hacks to be found. My only interest was bypassing the registration process. This page shows a quick fix for faking the registration on older Kobo devices, but the Kobo Aura H2O has a different user table format. I recommend installing your device the normal way before tweaking it. Also, always make a backup before messing with your electronics.


Bypassing the registration process - Short version

On a Macbook it's:

echo "INSERT INTO user VALUES('ID','Masterkey','Spip','lolnomail','',NULL,'false','false','false','RefreshToken','AuthToken','Bearer','','false','SyncContinuationToken',1,NULL,NULL,'4.5.6404');" | sqlite3 /Volumes/KOBOeReader/.kobo/KoboReader.sqlite


Bypassing the registration process - Long version

- Go to settings -> account and select logout. This will reboot the device.

- When the device is booted, select "I don't have WiFi", connect the device to a computer, and select 'connect' on the Kobo. The reader will act as a USB disk drive with the name KOBOeReader. On my Mac its location is /Volumes/KOBOeReader/. This directory contains a hidden folder named .kobo, which stores all the juicy Kobo things.

- Open the Kobo reader database by executing:

sqlite3 /Volumes/KOBOeReader/.kobo/KoboReader.sqlite
- Execute the following SQLite statement:
INSERT INTO user VALUES('ID','Masterkey','Spip','lolnomail','',NULL,'false','false','false','RefreshToken','AuthToken','Bearer','','false','SyncContinuationToken',1,NULL,NULL,'4.5.6404');

- Exit sqlite (.q), unplug the device and wait for it to reboot. It should think it's logged in now.


Security wise

Note that if you don't set a security PIN, anyone with physical access to your device can easily push firmware and read your authentication tokens from the user table.

The firmware can be downloaded from:

http://download.kobobooks.com/firmwares/kobo6/July2017/kobo-update-4.5.9587.zip
This is the latest firmware at the time of writing.