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Hackability

A project log for AND!XOR DC25 Badge

We're going bigger, better, more Bender.

Zapp 01/07/2017 at 16:310 Comments

DEF CON 24

One of the basic features of our DC24 badge was design for hackability. Personally, the badge project was a journey into embedded electronics. I got started with an Arduino and a breadboard, this is what I was familiar with. I designed Bender along those lines. The hardware was inspired by the Maple Mini from Leaf Labs and Espruino (both STM32F013) and ran an Arduino framework called stm32duino. We exposed as much IO as possible around Bender's eyes, provided SWD and FTDI interfaces, and USB for UART and DFU.

We know of one user hacking their badge. @mediumrehr added his own cigar PCB and spectrum analyzer to Bender. It was amazing to watch and that his design fit so well.

This approach had some issues, however:

  1. It required source code to modify the badge - which we didn't release until after DEF CON
  2. stm32duino is not a straightforward install - it requires many steps and is not managed through the Arduino IDE.
  3. The SWD interface was not enabled in the firmware - we released an update that enables it but at DEF CON it was not working

All in all we were very happy with the badges, we know of at least two people who have created their own Benders from github so it can't be that hard. If you see anybody with it a Purple Bender, buy them a drink. They made it themselves and it was not easy.

DEF CON 25

Based off our experience at DEF CON 24, our goal remains the same: Make the Badge Hackable but we want to see your hacks in Las Vegas. We want you to share your hacks. So we're changing things up. This year's badge is not based off a development board. It is completely original. There will be no USB but there will be SWD. We will expose as much GPIO as we can. And we will provide physical dimensions where it makes sense. Finally, we want the barrier-to-hacking to be as low as possible. How? We're not sure yet, but last year the goal was nothing more than a laptop, the Arduino IDE, and stm32duino.

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