Literacy for Integrated Circuit Reverse Engineering
Prior talks teach the big pictures about hardware security -- it's nearly impossible to safely keep a shared secret in mass-hardware, sidechannels are deadly, and cryptographic algorithms can never be concealed. This presentation does something different. It bridges the gap between hardware security experts and newcomers looking to understand just what it means to reverse engineer a microchip, turning cryptic pictures of transistors into a whole new alphabet. The function of integrated circuits can be deduced by imaging their structure. Once images of an IC are extracted, the relevant portions can be manually turned back into abstract logic. If the target is especially complicated, the images can be simulated using custom tools and existing software, without working out the intricate formulas and logic everywhere, to figure out what the circuits do. The practical experience to quickly recognize various structures in images becomes one of the most difficult aspects of reverse engineering ICs. This can require intense concentration and insight for the unenlightened. But once the patterns are understood, it's easy. That is where this presentation comes in.
Sobre Alex Radocea
Alex Rad comes from a background in application security testing, having worked at a killer software security consultancy and a shiny vendor. Now he's at CrowdStrike, helping defenders strike back and bring pain to the adversary. In his free time, he has played a lot of wargames and CTF with RPISEC, and being one of the co-captains of the loller skaterz dropping from rofl copters, has had fun at RECON and DEFCON. He dabbles in hardware reverse engineering, and wants to inspire people to reverse chips more and bridge the gap between the know-nothings and the expert chip reversers.