course: Bachelor-Praktikum Reverse Engineering - The Key to Hacking Real-World Devices

teaching methods:
practical course
Moodle, computer based presentation
responsible person:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Chris­tof Paar
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Chris­tof Paar (ETIT), M. Sc. Steffen Becker (ETIT), Dr.-Ing. Marc Fyrbiak (ETIT)
offered in:


All statements pertaining to examination modalities (for the summer/winter term of 2020) are given with reservations. Changes due to new requirements from the university will be announced as soon as possible.
Form of exam:lab
Registration for exam:Directly with the lecturer
continual assessment


In the scope of this innovative course, students have the unique opportunity to build knowledge about hardware reverse engineering and to immediately apply it in the projects.

This practical course facilitates a profound understanding of different gate-level netlist reverse engineering techniques and prepares the students for further research in this area.


The so-called reverse engineering of devices plays an important role for legitimate users and hackers. On the one hand, reverse engineering can support companies and governments to discover IP (intellectual property) fraud or targeted manipulations. On the other hand, hackers utilize reverse engineering to steal and copy others' IP, or to implement backdoors into software or hardware circuits.

As of today, there are approximately 20 billion devices online - and this Internet of Things (IoT) is estimated to grow rapidly with applications like the connected car or the smart home. With the advancing connectivity, the demand for experienced reverse engineers is growing - in industry as well as in science or in government agencies.

In the context of this course, students work on four projects with the gate-level netlist reverse engineering framework HAL.



recommended knowledge

Contents of the lectures "Rechnerarchitektur" and "Introduction to Hardware Reverse Engineering".


This practical course is offered as block course in the second part of the winter semester. It depicts an ideal opportunity to practically apply the knowledge gained from the lecture "Introduction to Hardware Reverse Engineering".

Parallelly to this practical course, a research study examining the development of new methods for hardware reverse engineering and hardware obfuscation is conducted. The participation is voluntary and will be compensated with 50€.