The PROBoter is a modular, self-calibrating probing machine to support PCB analysis tasks in penetration tests of embedded systems. The video of the PROBoter demonstrates its four main contributions: 1) The automatic visual detection of components and contact points on a PCB, 2) the automatic probing of contact points for net reversing and signal detection, 3) the mapping of signal lines to given bus protocols, and 4) the support in identification of potential attack vectors.
The first part of the PROBoter series gave an introduction to the manual process of embedded system pentesting. It then showed a possible automated workflow which will be implemented in the form of the PROBoter platform. After a longer phase of further internal development and evaluation, this post describes the core component of the PROBoter framework - a hardware platform for automated electrical probing and PCB image generation.
Security analysis of embedded systems on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) level can be a very tedious and time-consuming task. Many steps like visual PCB inspection and reverse engineering of security relevant nets, i.e. electrically connected components, is usually done manually by an embedded security expert. PROBoter aims at automating this manual analysis.