A look at techniques used to visually extract the contents of ROM embedded in microcontrollers and SoC devices. Chemicals and processes are used to expose binary values of bits in silicon, microscopes are used for imaging, data is digitized, then bits are decoded into bytes or words. This includes a brief exploration into some software tools used for data extraction and manipulation. Lessons learned from attempted and successful ROM extractions, and the difficulties and limitations encountered, will be shared.
Chris Gerlinsky is a hacker on Vancouver Island, Canada, whose interest in reverse engineering began with learning from pay TV security systems and pirate devices twenty years ago. From using microscopes to extract data from chips, power analysis and glitching to bypass security checks, and disassembling firmware, Chris has enjoyed opportunities to have hands-on experience with reverse engineering devices and cracking security systems.