About the talk

This talk explored the methods that Christopher Tarnovsky took to reverse engineer the chip-level printer cartridge protections for Samsung/HP printers. During the talk, Christopher described his process of using chemicals and mechanical polishing to slowly remove layers of the 90-nanometer chip surface. First removing the protective metal shield, he then moving around the wires before probing the logic layer using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and needles. Attendees had an insider’s view of the process through the high-resolution images Tarnovsky showed during the presentation, and then could follow the analysis through a schematic that he created based on his analysis of the chip logic and layout.

While this particular piece of research was not successful at breaking the protection before the chips were no longer being used, this session was a rare opportunity to see low-level methods of exploring chip layout and logic inside a highly capable lab using tools not available to many researchers. (Talk summery by @VirtualChrista)

This is a keynote talk by Christopher Tarnovsky presented at | Hardware Security Conference & Training USA 2019.

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Semiconductor Guru

Christopher Tarnovsky has been into computers since age 12 having a dad into hardware. He has been working with semiconductors since 1994. He worked for NDS protecting their smart cards from 1997-2007. Then started Flylogic which he sold to IOActive in 2012 and worked with them until 2014. Since 2014, he has been doing business as semiconductor gurus privately. He reverse engineered thousands of chips across the years.