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Kate Temkin & Mikaela Szekely

Workshop Title:

Hacking USB on the Cheap: Breaking USB without Breaking the Bank


Until recently, fully exploring the world of USB has been challenging -- as tools for working with USB have historically been expensive and difficult to obtain, and knowledge regarding USB has been cloistered away in lengthy and somewhatobtuse specifications -- but recent developments in USB tooling have made working with USB significantly more accessible.

This workshop provides an overview of USB security and USB-hacking techniques using inexpensive open-source software and hardware tools -- including several tools developed by the presenters in order to make USB hacking more accessible. The workshop includes a variety of demonstrations, and is accompanied by a set of short exercises that allow attendees to get some USB-hacking experience.

This workshop is best experienced when attendees bring a laptop with a working Python3 installation to follow along with.

Speaker Bio:

Kate Temkin leads the software development team at Great Scott Gadgets. Kate is a seasoned USB researcher, and maintains a variety of open-source hardware and software tools, including FaceDancer and GreatFET, and has discovered a number of well-known USB vulnerabilities– including CVE-2018- 6242, which famously allowed full exploitation of the Nintendo Switch. When not researching hardware security herself, her passions include making hardware and reverse engineering more accessible to everyone who wants to learn.

Mikaela Szekely is an open-source software and hardware enthusiast with a long-standing interest in USB, embedded systems, and the (ab)use of arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities on video game consoles. At the confluence of these interests, she maintains “fusée-launcher”, an open-source USB exploit tool and firmware loader for the Nintendo Switch. When not maintaining her own tools, Mikaela contributes to a variety of open-source projects, makes truly terrible puns, and hones her computer science skills in scenic Colorado.