Joe FitzPatrick,

Without too much investment, you can download some software and tools and start hacking on them. Hardware, on the other hand, requires physical tools and target systems. 

Luckily, with S$30 in your pocket and a trip to Sim Lim Tower, you can pick up an FT232H-based breakout board that is enough to get you started.

I'll walk through a series of demonstrations using that board as an all-in-one hardware hacking tool, including using it as: 

  • A logic analyzer to analyze testpoints on a board; 

  • A serial interface cable to interact with a console; 

  • A JTAG debugger to manipulate code in a live system; 

  • An SPI firmware dumper to extract firmware; 

  • An SPI firmware writer to write and boot a modified image; 

  • An I2C interface to manipulate configuration bits of a hardware device; and

  • A bit-banging engine to craft hardware protocol packets. 

I'll show and explain the hardware and software tooling for each technique, as well as one or more scenarios where the technique could be used to manipulate a hardware device. 

Hopefully, by the end of the presentation, you'll see how accessible many hardware hacking techniques really are and you'll walk away with the confidence to tackle a few of them on your own. 

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