Attacks on embedded systems
6 Jan 2017


I’m not going into too much detail here as they’re well covered in other material. Consider attacks on:

Extracting firmware

The chief weakness of an embedded device is that it’s physically not in your control. The attacker has total control of a single device, and if they learn enough about the software stack, they can develop exploits that work across many devices.

Extracting keys

Many embedded devices carry valuable private crypto keys. Methods to extract these include:

Attacks on chips

Very few ICs are designed with security in mind. They contain valuable firmware and crypto keys. Methods to attack them include:


The hardware of embedded devices can be manipulated in interesting ways to expose security problems.

Firmware analysis

Firmware can be obtained from a running device or as an update package from the vendor. The challenge, then, is to make sense of it and find security flaws.

Binary analysis is well covered in the existing reverse engineering literature, but there are some embedded-specific tools available.

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