Ben Gardiner

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Ben Gardiner ,

Mr. Gardiner is an independent consultant at Yellow Flag Security, Inc. presently working to secure heavy vehicles at the NMFTA. With more than ten years of professional experience in embedded systems design and a lifetime of hacking experience, Gardiner has a deep knowledge of the low-level functions of operating systems and the hardware with which they interface. Prior YFS Inc. and joining the NMFTA team in 2019, Mr. Gardiner held security assurance and reversing roles at a global corporation, as well as worked in embedded software and systems engineering roles at several organizations. He holds a M.Sc. Eng. in Applied Math & Stats from Queen’s University. He is a DEF CON Hardware Hacking Village (DC HHV) and Car Hacking Village (CHV) volunteer. He is GIAC GPEN certified and a GIAC advisory board member, he is also chair of the SAE TEVEES18A1 Cybersecurity Assurance Testing TF (drafting J3061-2), and a voting member of the SAE Vehicle Electronic Systems Security Committee. Mr. Gardiner has delivered workshops and presentations at several world cybersecurity events including GENIVI security sessions, Hack in Paris, HackFest and DEF CON.


Discussion: Hardware

This is a Q&A session.


Q&A and discussion for the hardware block, hosted and moderated by Geneviève Lajeunesse. Questions will be gathered from the audience during the four prior talks.

Talk: Just Add More LEDs: NSec 2018 and 2019 Badge Mods


Here's what you can do with a hardware badge once a con is over besides just hanging it up on the lanyard. Specifically, how to modify the Nsec 2018 'Sputnik' and 2019 'Brain' badges for off-board LED strips. e.g. as a monitor backlight, or just BLINKEN LIGHTS! With a bonus of how to do a hardware-port of a 503 party badge to the nsec 2018 badge.

I'll share all the parts lists with links and steps on how to do it. The LED strip mods are pretty simple and could be completed at home by those with some soldering experience, but I will show a few ways not to do it that I learned the hard way anyways. We will try to always include the "why it's possible" for those of you not familiar with HW stuff: Attendees will leave with parts lists and plans to add off-board LEDs to the 2018 and 2019 Nsec badges as well as the burning desire to make their own mods to other conference badges, whether or not they probably should. I love making my own use of HW -- usually involving a mess of wires and I hope it rubs off on you too.

Workshop: How Crypto Gets Broken (by you)

Workshops are first-come first-serve and have a participant limit. Tickets will be distributed (for free) via Eventbrite starting on May 11, 2021.


This is an introduction to crypto: building blocks, protocols and attacks on them. We cover: encoding vs encryption, hashes, ‘classic’ crypto, stream ciphers, block ciphers, symmetric crypto, asymmetric crypto, has attacks, classic crypto attacks, stream cipher attack, block cipher attack models, ECB attacks, crypto protocols, digital signatures, message authentication code, nonces, simple authentication, challenge response, simple authentication attacks (key collisions, key extraction and extension, replay, valet, bad counter resync), MAC attacks, digital signature attacks, pubkey substitution, challenge response attacks (middleperson attack, UDS style seed-key predictions), WPA2 password cracking, WPA2 key reinstallation, WPA2 key nulling, TLS/SSL middleperson attacks, SWEET32, DROWN, logjam, POODLE, UDS seed-key exchange attacks (reverse key algorithm, lift key algorithm, solve for unknowns, retry-retry-retry, brute force, glitch past).

Tools covered include: rumkin.com, hashcat, john the ripper, binwalk, radare2, binvis.io, Veles, airocrack-ng, mitmproxy, MITMf.

The workshop is a ‘101’ level: geared for people good at computers but maybe no knowledge of cryptography. There will be minimal math (I promise). We’ll talk mostly about how to break bad crypto and bad crypto algorithms with 10-15min hands-on sessions integrated into 4 hours of workshop: Decrypt ‘Crypto’, Break Hashes, Break Crypto, Visualize Crypto.

We will explore three applications of the building blocks and attacks also. Towards the end we tie-in the building blocks and attacks into how the following crypto protocols get broken: WPA2, TLS and UDS Seed-Key exchange (from automotive). Please join us for an intro-level exploration of cryptography building blocks, protocols and how to attack them. And, as always, crypto means cryptography.

Participants should prepare by:

All hands-on activities can be completed with a web-browser. But installing these tools beforehand will help: binwalk, Veles, hobbits, hashcat.