Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


03:26 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer

DEFCON: Bridging The Gap Between Hardware And Software Hacking

I got into hardware hacking as a kid, but never quite stuck with. Electronics weren't safe back then, and I often bridged that world with the physical to give my G.I. Joe something new conquer. That interest has been renewed.

I got into hardware hacking as a kid, but never quite stuck with. Electronics weren't safe back then, and I often bridged that world with the physical to give my G.I. Joe something new conquer. That interest has been renewed.After the Capture the Flag competition ended a couple of years ago at DEFCON, I wandered into the Hardware Hacking Village, where someone showed me the proper way to solder a USB port onto the conference badge. Soldering was something I'd tried and done quite poorly in the past, so I was excited to learn how to do it well and use something I'd never heard of before -- solder braid.

Last year, I delved a bit further into the hardware world by buying an Arduino kit and several "shields" for prototyping and adding network connectivity to the device. Following the nice guide from Lady Ada's site, I soldered it all without any problems and was quickly hooked. I kept tinkering with it to eventually get LEDs to light up via a Web page a friend clicked on remotely and even spent some time reading RFID tags.

DEFCON has put together another awesome schedule this year with quite a few talks surrounding hardware hacking. Two talks are specifically designed to help software hackers bridge the gap to hardware hacking. The first is "Go Go Gadget Python!: Introduction to Hardware Hacking" on Thursday, July 29, followed by "Hardware Hacking for Software Guys" on Sunday, Aug. 1. Each one will discuss hardware and software tools to get you started, plus examples of projects to help you move to the next level.

I'm particularly interested in the discussions that blur the line of hardware and software hacking by combining the two: "Programmable HID USB Keystroke Dongle (PHUKD): Using the Teensy as a Pen Testing Device" and "Hacking with Hardware: Introducing the Universal RF USB Keboard Emulation Device -- URFUKED." Each talk is based on a similar theme: using hardware to compromise computers via USB devices by injecting keystrokes and mouse gestures into a running system.

There's some awesome research being presented at DEFCON for software and hardware hackers alike. And if you missed the recent wireless presenter hacking using Arduinos that was given at Hack in the Box, check out this blog.

John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.


Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
The ALPS ALPINE touchpad driver before 8.2206.1717.634, as used on various Dell, HP, and Lenovo laptops, allows attackers to conduct Path Disclosure attacks via a "fake" DLL file.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
Sonatype Nexus Repository Manager OSS/Pro before 3.26.0 has Incorrect Access Control.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
search.php in the Nova Lite theme before 1.3.9 for WordPress allows Reflected XSS.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
PHP-Fusion 9.03 allows XSS via the error_log file.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
PHP-Fusion 9.03 allows XSS on the preview page.