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CW521 Ballistic Gel Communication Library

Project description

ChipSHOUTER® CW521 Ballistic Gel

The CW521 is an Electro-Magnetic Fault Injection (EMFI) target. It is specially designed to help you understand fault injection patterns for a given tip.

It uses a large SRAM chip as a target, which has a relatively simple layout. This lets you understand how much of a given chip you are corrupting.

GIT Layout

The GIT repository contains the following:

  1. PCB gerber files (TODO)
  2. Firmware for the microcontroller.
  3. Python library / PC application.

PC Application

The PC application is a simple example of using the Python library. This application does the following (via the library)

  1. Downloads a pattern to the SRAM chip.
  2. Waits for fault injection.
  3. Uploads SRAM chip contents & determines corrupt locations.
  4. Graphs map of physical SRAM locations (NB: not yet fully working).

The SRAM pattern can be something besides the random pattern, but the random pattern ensures "odd" corruptions (such as shorting address lines etc) will easily be caught.

An example of using the file is given at the end of, see the following:

cw521 = CW521()

doplot = False
savefile = None
#savefile = 'error_locations.bin' 

#Raw method is slower but more flexible
use_raw_method = True

while True:
        if use_raw_method:
            print "Writing data..."
            raw_input("Hit enter when glitch inserted")
            results = cw521.raw_test_compare()
            print "Writing data..."
            raw_input("Hit enter when glitch inserted")
            results = cw521.seed_test_compare()
        errdatay = results['errdatay']
        errdatax = results['errdatax']
        errorlist = results['errorlist']
        if doplot:
            plt.plot(errdatax, errdatay, '.r')
            plt.axis([0, 8192, 0, 4096])

        if savefile:
            with open(savefile, "wb") as errfile:

The "graph" that pops up afterwards is slightly bogus - the physical map of the SRAM is not yet accurate. But the most interesting aspect is that you can see number of bit flips (positive/negative), and total number of bytes corrupted.

You can switch to the faster method as well which does not provide bit corruption information. But it provides total corruption size which is often of great interest.

Ballistic Gel relies on ChipWhisperer being installed, as the USB routines are imported from ChipWhisperer. You can install it with

pip install chipwhisperer

If you do not have it.

Result Format

The result information is provided in a dictionary. Depending if you use the fast (but less detailed) method or the slow (but more detailed) method you may not have all of these fields. It currently provides you with this:

  • 'errorlist': A list of addresses of each byte error. The length of this is the number of byte errors.
  • 'errdatax', 'errdatay': errdatax & errdatay attempt to provide a map of locations on SRAM chip where errors occurred. Until mapping is complete this is not fully accurate.
  • 'set_errors': Number of bit-set errors that occurred. Note number of bit errors is different from number of byte errors.
  • 'reset_errors': Number of bit-reset errors that occurred. Note number of bit errors is different from number of byte errors.

Building Firmware

The firmware is built using Atmel Studio 7, but could also be built on Linux using an ARM toolchain.


Ballistic Gel is part of the ChipSHOUTER project (which is itself related to the ChipWhisperer project). It is also known as the CW521 target board.

Ballistic Gel is an open-source project, and is released with the GPL license. Assembled boards can be purchased from NewAE Technology Inc at .

ChipSHOUTER is a registered trademark of NewAE Technoloy Inc. Note you CANNOT sell boards using the ChipSHOUTER name without permission, and you cannot use NewAE Technology Inc's USB VID on your own products as the USB-IF license disallows sub-licensing in this manner. If you change the VID/PID, simply change the associated VID/PID in the .inf (driver) file as needed.

Project details

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Source Distribution

ballisticgel-0.1.1.tar.gz (3.2 kB view hashes)

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