Hardware hacking and attacks against embedded systems are no longer limited to hobbyists who simply want to have fun making products do things they were never intended to do. Nation states, criminal organizations, and others looking to maliciously subvert, monitor, manipulate, or intentionally damage are now involved.
Many electronic devices contain design flaws that could lead to exploitable vulnerabilities. In order to discover such flaws, hackers and engineers use a variety of tools. This presentation describes the tools commonly used during the hardware hacking and reverse engineering processes, including those that monitor/decode communications, extract firmware, inject/spoof data, and identify/connect to debug interfaces.
On-chip debug (OCD) interfaces can provide chip-level control of a target device and are a primary vector used by engineers, researchers, and hackers to extract program code or data, modify memory contents, or affect device operation on-the-fly. Depending on the complexity of the target device, manually locating available OCD connections can be a difficult and time consuming task, sometimes requiring physical destruction or modification of the device.