The Art of Fault Injection
Cristofaro Mune


6th-9th of May 2024






Fault Injection is often the weapon of choice for breaking into devices when exploitable software vulnerabilities are not known or absent. While Fault Injection attacks are nowadays common, typical concepts, methodologies, techniques, and attacks are often not sufficiently understood. While achieving success by simply glitching a target can yield results, it’s important to note that this approach alone doesn’t facilitate the creation of innovative attacks. In this training, students will experience and appreciate the Art of Fault Injection (TAoFI) to exploit the full potential of Fault Injection attacks.

This training assumes, though it is not strictly mandatory, that students possess prior experience with Fault Injection attacks, either obtained at work, at home, or at a previously attended training (e.g., from Colin, Joe, or Thomas). Students are encouraged to work together in teams of two, sharing their experiences, to tackle the challenges together more efficiently. Even though not recommended, students may work individually as well.

Students will be using advanced techniques to characterize the effects of voltage glitches on the Espressif
ESP32 System-on-Chip (SoC). The faults resulting from these voltage glitches are carefully analyzed and described to build a thorough understanding of the target’s susceptibility to voltage glitches.

This enables the students to create powerful Fault Injection exploits. During this training, rather than focusing on a specific set of tools, the students will focus more on the concepts, methodologies, techniques, and attacks relevant to Fault Injection attacks.

Students will experience, with guidance from experts, performing real-world Fault Injection attacks, that were either disclosed by Raelize or other security researchers. Students will be using the NewAE ChipWhisperer-Husky, typical hardware lab tooling like an oscilloscope and a hardware debugger. Students
are provided with a virtual machine (VM) with all the required tooling installed, as well as access to the required hardware.

Upon completing the training, students will be proficient in executing sophisticated Fault Injection attacks
on real-world targets using commercially available tooling. The knowledge gained from understanding the
underlying concepts, methodologies, techniques, and attacks, can be used by the students to perform novel
Fault Injection attacks on other targets of interest.

Key Learning Objectives

The key learning objectives of this training are:

  • Understand Fault Injection techniques and attacks like an expert
  • Identify non-trivial vulnerabilities using advanced Fault Injection techniques
  • Create advanced Fault Injection exploits using commercially available tooling
  • Reproduce top-notch security research originally performed by Fault Injection experts


This training takes students on a multi-day journey during which they perform hands-on exercises (75%)
and attend interesting lectures (25%). The students will share their past and current experiences to learn
from each other (including the trainers).

Students will get access to a Virtual Machine (VM) that contains all the required software. Students will have access to all the required tooling throughout the training.

Students can continue with the exercises after the training has finished, if they possess the required tooling,
which is commercially available from online retailers.


This training is intended for:

  • Security Analysts, Researchers & Enthusiasts
  • Forensic Investigators
  • Anyone else interested in advanced Fault Injection techniques and attacks


The training level of this training is Intermediate / Advanced.

The fundamentals of Fault Injection are addressed systematically, but students are assumed to have some
experience with Fault Injection attacks.

What students need to bring

The students of this training are expected to bring a modern x86-64 based laptop or workstation:

  • where they are allowed to install software
  • with sufficient memory (at least 8 GB)
  • with at least four (4) available USB-A ports (i.e., use a USB hub)
    • Raelize will have extra USB hubs available during the training (USB-C / USB-A)
  • installed with a modern browser (i.e., Google Chrome)
  • installed with VMware Player/Workstation (or VirtualBox)

What students need to know

The students of this training are expected to:

  • have experience performing basic Fault Injection attacks
  • be familiar with communicating with embedded devices
  • be familiar with typical hardware lab tooling
  • be familiar with programming Python and C
  • be familiar with reverse engineering software
  • be familiar with common cryptography (RSA, AES, and SHA)

The Fault Injection tooling will be attached to the VM that Raelize provides. Please, make sure that forwarding different types of USB devices to the VM works as expected. In our experience, this works best using VMware products (e.g., VMware Workstation Player). Students with a Linux host may also decide to run the training environment without using a VM.

Important: The required tooling is only tested on x86-64-based systems. ARM-based systems (e.g., Apple M1, M2 or M3), or systems based on other architectures, are not supported.


The following list of topics are covered by practical exercises (75%) which are supported by (25%) presentations. Most of the exercises are performed on a custom development board based on the Espressif ESP32 System-on-Chip (SoC), on which Raelize performed multiple Fault Injection attacks.

This training starts by building up a solid understanding of the typical concepts and methodologies Fault Injection. Then, students dive straight into the advanced techniques and attacks, which are used to create powerful Fault Injection exploits. Throughout the  training, there will be ample opportunity to discuss any relevant topic related to Fault Injection attacks and techniques.


Advanced Techniques

  • Target characterization; with and without custom code
  • Analyzing faults to identify target behavior
  • Plotting results to identify target behavior
  • Modeling faults to build attack primitives
  • Advanced trigger techniques for timing
  • Vulnerability identification by reverse engineering
  • Vulnerability verification with hardware debugger
  • Effective glitch parameter selection strategies

Advanced Attacks


Raelize used Riscure’s ElectroMagnetic Fault Injection (EMFI) tooling to perform the research. The students will perform these attacks using the NewAE ChipWhipserer-Husky.

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