Exposing and photographing silicon

Have you ever wanted to break open your IC and see where those pins really go? [nico] goes through his process of dissolving ICs to their core and photographing the tiny die. The technique involves liquefying the package in sulfuric acid until all the packaging material and pins are gone. He even explains how to use sodium bicarbonate (common baking soda) to neutralize the solution thus allowing for simple sink disposal. Although silicon hacking is generally done by funded hackers with a really nice lab, it is certainly possible to execute some of these techniques with limited equipment and chemical access. For instance, if you can’t get sulfuric acid, send your IC off to a failure analysis lab like MEFAS. For more information and stories on silicon hacking, check out [Chris Tarnovsky]’s process for hacking smartcards and [bunnie]’s talk Hacking silicon: secrets behind the epoxy curtain.

High profile hackers get their day in court


The court cases against high profile hackers [Gary McKinnon], [Gregory King], and [Robert Matthew Bentley] all had major developments last week, with [King] and [Bentley] sentenced to time in prison and [McKinnon] in a tenuous
state fighting extradition.

Both [King] (aka Silenz) and [Bentley] (aka LSDigital) will serve time for crimes related to botnets, but where [King] used one to stage DDOS attacks, [Bentley] used them to create spam. [King]’s botnet had 7,000 nodes, and though the court did not release the size of [Bentley]’s botnet, all of his bots were computers in the Rubbermaid company. [King] agreed to a two-year sentence, while [Bentley] was sentenced to 41 months.

[McKinnon] (aka Solo) who is of British origin, may serve up to 60 years in prison for mounting the “biggest military hack ever” on U.S. government computers. Between 2001 and 2002, he allegedly hacked into 97 computers in U.S. military and NASA networks. To be charged in American courts, though, he would have to be extradited first, and his extradition appeal to British courts is currently pending.

The Best of 2600


2600 editor [Emmanuel Goldstein], has decided to publish The Best of 2600. It features some of the best essays on lockpicking, phone phreaking, social engineering, and other topics that the hacker quarterly had to offer.

Founded in 1984, 2600 was one of the major catalysts that got the modern hacker scene going. They published controversial articles on topics like red boxing and spawned monthly meetings. This firsthand account of the development of hacker culture will be released in July at The Last HOPE in New York.