View the Project on GitHub C00kie-/squirrel.lu

Intro to hardware hacking: firmware extraction

A couple of weeks ago I presented a workshop about firmware extraction at the conference Hack.lu in Luxembourg. The goal of this workshop was to provide a very basic knowledge of how to dump a firmware from a device, to allow people to start their own project. Our targets here are two small routers. Hardware : the difficulty to get started in a simple way

### Hardware : the difficulty to get started in a simple way

I’ve been discussing with friends during the preparation of the workshop, some who are very advanced in what we so call ‘hardware hacking’, other who have no knowledge at all and want to start, some who have a little and are very curious to learn… Everybody had a different path in information security and different approaches in learning. I had many interesting conversations, rich in meanings and ideas to provide the future ‘students’ an effective and realistic entry level workshop.

As I mention during the workshop, I made some choices that lead to a methodology for dumping a firmware. There are many different techniques and methods to do it, all adapted to a specific set of hardware and software. I simplify a bit this, I want the article to make the subject to be affordable for newbies, for people with no background in electronics and a very little in Linux.

The methodology and the tools you’ll use depends highly on the target you select. Changing target will surely makes you adapt your tools and be creative. Learning hardware hacking is this way very rewarding.

I hope this first workshop gave you also a quick view of what an embedded Linux system looks like, I mean I was very curious about this when I started. I came from the ‘coding’ side of computers, I slowly dig about systems to figure out how machines work, I still am. If opening the box gives you great satisfaction and increase your curiosity, well, this means you aren’t gonna stop yet. Hardware is cool and fun, painful and rewarding.

Happy hardware hacking !

link to the slides

A special thank the Hack.lu team for their kindness and for providing people a welcoming environment for learning.