Welcome to the first embedded hardware CTF, round two


  • How do I ask a question?
    Send us an e-mail at rhme2@riscure.com or on Twitter at @riscure. Or join our IRC channel #rhme on Freenode.
  • Do I have to be present at Hardwear IO or Blackhat Europe or any event to get a board?
    No, we will send boards by mail to all participants, free of charge.
  • Can I play with my own board?
    No, the board needs to run some custom firmware. Only boards we send will be able to participate.
  • I didn't receive my board yet, can I already start playing?
    Yes, you can already start with the reverse engineering challenges Jumpy and The Imposter.
  • Can I get more boards?
    We are planning to send only one board per participant. We believe this is enough to complete all challenges.
  • Can I keep the board?
  • How difficult are the challenges?
    This year the challenge has a different format. It is actually many challenges ranging from easy to difficult and divided by categories. You will receive all the challenges and you can play the ones you prefer.
  • Which are the planned categories?
    Reverse engineering, cryptography, side channel analysis, fault injections, exploitation, and other.
  • What do I need to play?
    The Arduino clone board with the custom firmware (the one we send), and a USB cable to flash the challenges into the board. If you are going to play SCA or FI challenges, then you need the appropiate hardware/software. Additionally, some challenges may require a little bit of hardware interfacing, nothing too fancy. We have tried to keep the hardware requirements low, and the majority of challenges can be solved using only a serial interface.
  • How do I interface with the board?
    The board has a serial console (exposed through the USB connector) and several GPIO pins. The serial console is used to interface with the challenges and to flash new challenges through the bootloader. The GPIO pins are used for..., well that is something you have to figure out.
  • Can I play with a Windows / macOS based system?
    Yes, however you need to install the correct driver so your operating system can recognize the board. It might be easier to use a Linux based virtual machine instead.
  • Which chip is used by the board for the serial communication over USB?
    QinHeng Electronics HL-340 USB-Serial adapter
  • I just received my board but cannot communicate with it?!?
    Connect the USB cable to the board and your computer. The power LED should be ON. The L LED should blink twice every couple of seconds. If both LEDs are working as described, the board is healthy and the problem is the serial communication with your computer. Try dmesg / lsusb on Linux to see if the OS is detecting the board.
  • I personalized the board successfully and flashed the first challenge. I can see the challenge output but cannot send data to the board?
    The board has two LEDS for serial communication debugging. The TX LED should turn on when the board is sending data. The RX LED should turn on when you are sending data to the board. If you can see both LEDs flashing accordingly but the challenge does nothing, then you have to figure out what the challenge is expecting as input.
  • I am new to SCA/FI, can you give me some information to start with?
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