Browse Learn C1524

Design Considerations for Secure Embedded Systems C1524

Embedded hardware is everywhere you look today from your vehicle"s infotainment system to refrigerator to medical devices and everything else in-between. With so much exposure one would think that such devices are secure against attack; however, sadly for a large number of devices this is not the case. For proof, just look no further than your local news reports. They are full of reports on devices being hacked into.

So, as engineers, how do we go about first identifying and mitigating (or capitalizing) the potential security vulnerabilities within these devices? The answer to this question, and the subject of this seminar, is through the reverse engineering of the hardware itself. This seminar is a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises which will conclude with the students attempting to attack and defeat a custom embedded device.

While the idea of taking apart a complicated piece of hardware may seem overwhelming, with both the technical background and reverse engineering techniques presented in this seminar you will soon find that you are not only up to the task but more comfortable doing so in the future. To expedite the learning process and remove some of the potential over complexities of embedded systems, the material presented in this seminar will focus on a custom made embedded device which has been designed with simplicity of understanding in mind. At the end of the seminar, students are free to take home with them the embedded device, a starter kit of physical exploitation tools, and the pre-built work environment that was used in the seminar.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Identify key hardware components of embedded systems
  • Research and use datasheets
  • Interpret basic schematics
  • Locate and utilize hidden communication paths (i.e. debug ports)
  • Interface target hardware with a PC
  • Use a logic analyzer to capture communications between an Micro Controller Unit (MCU) and external memory
  • Extract firmware from an embedded system

Who Should Attend
This seminar is intended for engineers who want to develop a basic understanding and the corresponding skill set needed for the hardware reverse engineering of embedded systems. The seminar assumes students have at least a basic understanding of both electronics and programming. Other prospective students who will benefit from this course include computer security researchers, digital forensic investigators, software engineers, and senior management.

Day One

  • Overview of Hardware Reverse Engineering

    • Accepted definitions
    • Why would we hack hardware
    • Limitations
    • Adopting a hacker mindset

  • Engineer Bling - Gather Your Tools

    • Soldering / desoldering
    • Multimeters, logic analyzers, and oscilloscopes
    • MCU reader / writers (programmers)
    • Prototyping MCU
    • Miscellaneous items

  • Basic Electronic Concepts for the Budding Hardware Engineer

    • Voltage
    • Resistance
    • Component identification
    • Data sheets

  • Key Components in Embedded Systems

    • MCU
    • Memory
    • Storage

  • Embedded Systems Communication Protocols of Interest

    • Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART)
    • Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI)
    • Joint Test Action Group (JTAG)
    • Inter-integrated Circuit (I2C)

Day Two

  • Perimeter Reconnaissance

    • Identifying information
    • Exposed entry points
    • Exterior anti-tamper

  • Cracking Open the Box

    • Recording the way things were
    • Tracking the order of things

  • Identification of Pins and Components

    • Company logos
    • Part numbers
    • Pin counts, organization, and layout

  • Datasheet Reconnoitering

    • Google
    • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    • Company websites

  • Building a Pre-Attack Plan

    • Locating ports
    • Finding ground and voltage pins
    • Isolating the transmit pin
    • Interfacing to the PC
    • Finding the receive pin

  • Covert Operations

    • Gathering data from off-the-wire
    • Disinformation in communications
    • Firmware acquisition

  • End Game

    • Using your supporting tools and software
    • Hacking and slashing your way through the firmware
    • Looking for missed opportunities

  • Wrapping Up

    • Cleaning up the battle field
    • After action report

Glen Roberts

Glen Roberts is a Project Manager for the Systems Analysis and Exploitation group at Assured Information Security, Inc. (AIS), specializing in penetration testing, reverse engineering, embedded systems security and exploitation, drone security and professional cybersecurity education.

Prior to joining AIS, Roberts spent more than sixteen years in law enforcement working in New Jersey. During his career in law enforcement, he earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in Cybersecurity (Computer Forensics and Cyber Operations) from Utica College, where he currently teaches graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity courses. He also earned the following certifications: CISSP (ISC2); OSCE (Offensive Security); OSCP (Offensive Security); and Security (Comp-TIA).


Hotel & Travel Information

Fees: $1530.00
SAE Members: $1224.00 - $1377.00

1.3 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

To register, click Register button at the top of this page and submit the online form, or contact SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (724/776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at

Duration: 2 Days
April 23-24, 2018 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) - Troy, Michigan
October 15-16, 2018 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) - Troy, Michigan