Introduction to Hardware and Embedded Forensics

Blog Series

Introduction to Hardware and Embedded Forensics

I started thinking about cell phones and how people acquire data from them. I read about hacking pin codes with electronic devices, rooting methods and their shelf life/practicality, chip off, JTAG, etc.

What? JTAG and chip off...? After a bit of time on Google I sent a Tweet on April 19th, 2015 asking, "JTAG opinions: RIFF, Smart-Clip2, Octoplus, or Sigma Box? Looking to "play" around a bit"? I got a few replies. I didn't know much about what they tweeted back to me. Below is what has happened since that tweet...

That's when I realized I had a knowledge gap. I don't know much about hardware and/or electronics and if I ever needed to do something with either one of those forensically I would need to ask for some help. But I also like new hobbies and learning new things so this is where my road begins.

So to learn more about hardware, hardware "hacking", and other techniques used to acquire forensic data off hardware devices (outside of desktop/laptop computers) I have decided to start poking around with some different consumer electronics. Specifically home automation. At least initially to get my feet wet, but more so because my cell phone is hundreds of dollars and it has some super small electronics on it. I figured I would start with something a bit bigger. So I hit up Amazon and ordered a few different home automation hubs to take a look at. I'm less interested in the "hacking" part, but if I find something interesting along the way I will write about it as well.

First things first. I need to buy some equipment before I get started.

My Shopping List

Things I already had

Here is where I get to justify my purchases. It is about 50% of a graduate class and I will learn a hell of a lot more than I would there so I consider it justified. However, I couldn't stomach adding all of it up so you will need to do that on your own. Go home or go big I guess..


Below is a list of sites, links, videos, courses, books, etc. that I am finding useful or are on my to-do list. This will continue to grow as I add more and more sites. Feel free to send me links. Some of these are way above my head, but I keep them around for references more than anything. Maybe they wont be for others.

I suggest reading/watching the "free" stuff first before you start buying a bunch of books and what not. Do as I say, not as I did. :)

Protocol References







It's not the articles themselves. It's the references that contain the gold.

Hardware RE/Hacking Sites

Reference Books (Google goes a long way here)

Educational Courses


Overview Presentations/Videos/Blogs/Websites (in no order)

ELF Binary Reversing


So yeah, that's the "kit" I have and will be playing with. I'm not really sure where this "series" of blog posts are going to go, or even if i'll get anywhere. I really know nothing about hardware/electronics so i'm more or less putting this out to the public as a means to keep me on task and hopefully learn something along the way. I can already see some C coding in my future. At the very least I will keep notes and make a good record of where people can go to at least get started if they are also interested.

If you find these posts useful and educational you can donate via PayPal.Me here: $1, $2, $3, $4, $5 or Custom.