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Chipping Away at Root: A Practical Exploration of Real World Hardware Hacking

Josh "m0nk" Thomas, Atredis & Nathan Keltner, Atredis | March 25-26


Do you find yourself interested in hardware hacking or reverse engineering but simply unsure where to start? This class aims to educate the student on exactly where to start and will provide real world detail on what we do for a living and a hobby. The class is centered around a real world target platform, and we will guide the students through the entire assessment and exploitation process. We will start the class with unboxing a commercial product and end with persistent root shells.

The class will be heavily lab based and will cover:

Students should expect to spend 70-80% of their time in guided labs.

Who Should Take This Course

Anyone interested in hardware reverse engineering from a security perspective.

Student Requirements

Curiosity about hardware.

What Students Should Bring

A Mac or Linux laptop. We will try to support windows and VM images, but students have had problems in the past (please consider yourself warned).

What Students Will Be Provided With

(to take home after class)


Josh "m0nk" Thomas - Chief Breaking Officer for Atredis, Security researcher, hardware reverse engineer, mobile phone geek, mesh networking evangelist and general breaker of things electronic. Typical projects of interest span the hardware / software barrier and rarely have a UI. m0nk has spent the last year or two digging deep into Android and iOS internals, with a major focus on both the network stack implementation and the driver and below hardware interfaces.

Nathan Keltner - Chief Hacking Officer at Atredis. Nathan is best known for his research related to reversing proprietary Smart Grid radio frequency systems and other Smart Grid research, and his contributions to the Metasploit Framework. Nathan has spoken at Black Hat USA, DefCon, ReCon and other notable security conferences on exploiting smart grid radio frequency systems, advanced analysis of purpose-built system-on-chip architectures, and exploitation under limited-access user security models on the Windows platform. Nathan has a decade of experience in the information security industry, moving from traditional penetration testing to red-teaming, exploit development, software research and advanced hardware and software reverse engineering.