I’m speaking at Hope X!

I was selected to talk at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference this July 18th-20th in NYC! I’m honored and super excited to tell everybody about the Open Source Hardware hacking I’ve been doing for the last few months. I attended HOPE 9 and it was filled with some very high quality talks; too many to attend. I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the speaker list.

The title of my talk is: Crypto for Makers: Projects for the BeagleBone, Pi, and AVRs and below is the summary which I submitted. If you have been following my blog, or my company, you should have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to talk about.

The main conference website is here and you can still buy tickets here. The keynote speaker is Daniel Ellsberg, the man behind the Pentagon Papers. I hope I don’t have to speak in his time slot. See you in NYC!

As more devices join the Internet of Things, it is increasingly important that these devices remain protected from surveillance and compromise. This talk will show how to add specialized, commercially available, crypto Integrated Circuits (ICs) to improve the security of your BeagleBone, Pi, or AVR based platform. ICs such as a Trusted Platform Module, I2C authentication chips, and hardware random number generators will be discussed. The CryptoCape, an Open Source Hardware daughterboard, made in collaboration between SparkFun Electronics and Josh, will be presented in detail. Lastly, this talk will describe the experience of running a Tor relay on a BeagleBone Black for over 200 days.

I will also have a booth at the Denver Mini-Maker Faire in early May if you are in the area.

Maker Show and Tell at Aleph Objects

Yesterday I presented at Loveland CreatorSpace’s Make Show and Tell hosted by Aleph Objects. As always, I was impressed by everybody’s projects. There was a decent non-member showing as well as the word is getting out about LCS. By the way, we have a physical space now.

Talking about the CryptoCape

Talking about the CryptoCape

Midway through the show-and-tell we receive a tour of Aleph Objects and saw the massive 3D printer array, which is printing parts for more 3D printers. Aleph gives tours frequently so if you are in the Northern Colorado area, you should really check it out.

The early cryptocape.  Made on a prototype SparkFun breadboard

The early cryptocape. Made on a prototype SparkFun breadboard

I was there talking about the CryptoCape and I had brought the first prototype with me. The board has certainly come a long way and there is plenty more to do. I really wanted a crypto board that was hacker-friendly and could be extended in various projects. I keep thinking about new ways to use the cape and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for people.

In other news, tomorrow is Arduino Day. Swing by SparkFun and pick up some discount Arduinos! I have my eyes set on the pro Minis.

My top eBooks picks from Packt

Packt Publishing is offering a buy one, get one free deal on eBooks until March 26th. What I like about Packt is that they have some very niche books, like a book on Gnucash! I was curious about what other books they had and I made a list of my favorites below.


Packt has three books on the BeagleBone listed below. They all look a good source for BeagleBone project ideas if you are looking for a next project.

Raspberry Pi

Security / Networking

  • CISSP in 21 Days: During breaks in my graduate program1, when I haven’t had a test for a while, I sometimes feel the urge to take a test and this one is usually on the list.

  • Traffic Analysis with Tshark How-to: Wireshark rocks; Tshark is wireshark on the command line, which rocks more.

Functional Programming

Packt seems to have a number of books on Clojure2 and the following looked interesting:


  1. Only one class left! 

  2. I actually searched “lisp”, but I’ll take Clojure. 
  3. I can never remember the find syntax. I do use zsh’s echo **/*.pattern a lot. 
  4. Leslie Lamport, the main developer behind \LaTeX, has been recently awarded the ACM Turing Award 

Upgrade the BeagleBone Black to kernel version 3.13

The current shipping kernel version of the BeagleBone Black is 3.8. However, it is fairly easy to upgrade to 3.13 with the help of Robert Nelson’s scripts. Why upgrade to 3.13? Well, mainly because the support for the OMAP hardware random number generator, OMAP crypto accelerators, and TPM support are available. The TI crypto hardware (hwrng and AES, MD5, and SHA accelerators) are enabled by default in the BeagleBoard images. To enable I2C TPM support, we need to configure the kernel. The CryptoCape, which will be soon available at SparkFun Electronics, will have the Atmel 1.2 TPM.

There are three parts to this post. The first is how to flash Debian to the eMMC. This is not technically a prerequisite, but I keep looking this information up all over the web and I finally decided to write it down. This is how I setup all of my BBBs. The second section is how to use the scripts to quickly upgrade to the 3.13. The last section shows how to customize the kernel and add TPM support.
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New Look

I upgraded this blog’s theme to Hemingway Rewritten. It had been two years since I last changed it and I had been looking for a new theme. It’s a nice, minimalistic theme and plus when you scroll down there’s a nice bounce on the header image. :)

I have a few projects spinning and I’m trying to get caught up on my blog. The next post will be about upgrading the BeagleBone Black to kernel version 3.13. Also, much of my time has been spent preparing for the release of the CryptoCape. I’m hoping it’ll be ready by the Denver Maker Faire, at which I’ll be manning the Cryptotronix booth. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you check it out (and come by and say hi).

Hashlet version 1.0.0 released

Originally posted on Cryptotronix, LLC:

I’ve released Hashlet version 1.0.0. Once Savannah updates the mirrors, you can download the release here. If that site is not live, the tagged 1.0.0 release can be obtained from GitHub.

The reason for the major version bump is that the i2c bus is no longer a required parameter. It is assumed to be /dev/i2c-1 but can be changed with the `-b option.

The biggest feature added is the ability to import keys onto another device. So, say you have one personalized hashlet and want to “clone” the keys onto another. When you personalize the second device, use the command: hashlet personalize -f keys.txt. (backup the ~/.hashlet file first!)

Now, you can run the mac command on one device and the check-mac on another for verification.

There are some features, that unfortunately, are only available for NEW hashlets (i.e. ones that have not be personalized). Due to…

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Hulu Blocks Tor

I run a Tor relay on my home network on a BeagleBone Black. It’s certainly not the fastest Tor relay out there, but it’s inexpensive, small, and doesn’t affect my home network. But more importantly, it allows users who are censored to access the Internet and the Tor project helps protect privacy online. The Tor project, IMHO, is one of the best open source projects around.

Bandwidth graph of my BBB relay over the last 3 months

Bandwidth graph of my BBB relay over the last 3 months

As a non-exit relay, one does not typically encounter many issues as none of the Tor traffic exits my relay to the open Internet. For those seeking a description of Tor traffic, there is a great infographic on the EFF site. Anyway, I tried to watch Family Guy and I was presented this:

All Tor relays have their IP address publicized; this is how Tor clients can find them. There are some exceptions with things called “Bridges,” which I won’t go into any detail here. It’s pretty easy to collect a list of public Tor relays, since well, they are public and simply blacklist all of those IP addresses. Which is what I think is happening here.

I sent the following email to Hulu support; we’ll see if I get a response. There was a response on the Tor-talk mailing. I like Family Guy, but I like Internet freedom more.


I run a non-exit Tor relay on my home network. This allows Internet users, who are censored, to access the Internet and protects users who wish to keep their privacy while online. There is a great description of who uses Tor at: https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en

As you can tell, my IP is based in the U.S. and I would like to access Hulu. Can you please lift the blacklist on my IP?


Oh, February 11th is the Day We Fight Back against Mass Surveillance. Bloggers and website admins can add some javascript on their pages to show support but WordPress.com users are out of luck. I added this support request to WordPress.com. If you are on WordPress.com, maybe you can “me too” the post to show some support!?

Helpful AVR Pocket Programmer Script

Originally posted on Cryptotronix, LLC:

The CryptoCape has an AtMega328p and I’m working on getting the crypto library NaCl running on the micro-processor.  Peter and Michael, the authors of the paper, have been extremely responsive and helpful as I’ve been bugging them :) I quickly realized that the AVR Pocket Programmer is a very nice way to flash a “naked” ATMega328p (or a full Arduino Uno).  But, when using various sketches, it’s nice to have a script with avrdude that is easily invoked from the command line.


The AVR Pocket Programmer attached to an ISP 6 pin connector, wired to an AtMega328p.

I’ve added this blurb to my .zshrc:


Flash the sketch with pp Blink.cpp.hex.

Hardware Details

For the DIYers out there, I used the schematic

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Atmel’s ATSHA204 helps secure the BBB


The Hashlet made the Atmel blog!

Originally posted on Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World:

Hashlet – an authentication device embedded on a mini-cape – is specifically designed to secure the BeagleBone Black (BBB). 

Powered by Atmel’s advanced ATSHA204, the mini-cape functions as an external hardware random number generator, performs the SHA-256 algorithm in hardware and is capable of storing up to 16 256-bit keys in write and read protected memory.

Manufactured by Cryptotronix, the device is packaged with free software (GPLv3) that provides an easy to use Command Line Interface (CLI).

“The Hashlet is assembled and tested by Cryptotronix prior to shipping,” the Cryptotronix crew explained in a recent product post.
”Simply slip the board on the top of the expansion header and the device is ready. The device uses /dev/i2c-1, which is enabled by default so there are no device-tree files that have to be installed.”

Random numbers (data) are easily generated with a single line command, while creating and verifying a…

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Originally posted on Cryptotronix, LLC:

The slides from my lunch-and-learn at SparkFun are now available on SpeakerDeck.  For those who missed the announcement, check out the news post on SparkFun.  There is a brief crypto primer, a detailed look at BeagleBone cape device trees, an introduction to the CryptoCape, and some submarine pictures. Submarine stories always go over well and kids and adults always ask the same questions: Where does the poop go? Are their windows? Do people go crazy onboard?

There are plenty of links to BBB cape resources and the mentioned YouTube videos are extremely helpful.

At SparkFun, I was working mainly on the CryptoCape, a BeagleBone Black cape that has numerous Crypto ICs and other building blocks. The part list is finalized and it will contain:

There is plenty of proto-space on the board to add additional…

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