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Ham Hacks: Breaking Into the World of Software-Defined Radio

This DerpCon 2020 presentation explores how to find, capture, and reverse-engineer RF signals.

Presentation by Kelly Albrink at DerpCon 2020


If you’re a hacker who has always been too afraid of RF protocols to try getting into SDRs, or you have a HackRF collecting dust in your closet, this talk shows you the ropes.

This content is for penetration testers and security researchers to introduce you to finding, capturing, and reverse-engineering RF signals.

Presentation includes:

  1. Radio basics
  2. Required hardware & software
  3. Demo find, capture, and analyze a car key fob signal

Kelly albrink

About the author, Kelly Albrink

Application Security Practice Director

Kelly Albrink (CCNA CyberOps, GCIH, GSEC, OSCP, GWAPT, Sec+) is the Application Security Practice Director at Bishop Fox. In this role, she focuses on application security, red teaming, network penetration testing, and hardware security.

To her credit, Kelly has discovered 3 CVEs in Eaton UPS, including a high-risk vulnerability. She has performed numerous penetration tests for companies using zero trust networking in addition to performing multiple red teams for a leading clothing retailer including, e-commerce environments, factory and industrial control systems, as well as cloud security reviews.

Kelly is big into researching hardware with interesting wireless integrations (eg. LoRaWan, Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy). During one of these research projects, she reversed engineered the signals on 20+ key fobs with a software-defined radio. Additionally, she recently worked on a project that found a way to completely, wirelessly disable a home security system with BishopFox’s tool “ZigDiggity.”

Kelly has presented at a number of security events including Okta's inaugural security conference, Okta Rex, Day of Shecurity, and the DeadDrop San Francisco Meetup. At the first ever DerpCon, Kelly presented on SDRs, a topic she later wrote about for the Bishop Fox blog in "Ham Hacks: Breaking into Software-Defined Radio." She is a recipient of the SANS CyberTalent Immersion Academy scholarship. Kelly has competed in the NetWars Tournament of Champions, a national invite-only competition that admits only those who have placed highly in regional CTFs. In addition, she volunteers with her local hackerspace, Noisebridge, where she organizes Infosec Lab Nights and mentors aspiring penetration testers.

More by Kelly

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