DEFCON 16 Badge

The DEFCON 16 Badge was created for the 2008 edition of DEFCON, the largest and oldest continuously running hacker and computer security convention in the world. The badge uses active electronics, an artistically-designed circuit board, and provides intentionally “open” circuitry to allow attendees to experiment with and modify the badge to their liking.

This year's design is based around a Freescale Flexis MC9S08JM60 8-bit microcontroller and features infrared data transmission and reception, SecureDigital (SD) memory card and FAT16 file system support, and a USB bootloader for in-the-field firmware upgrades. Source code was developed using the freely available CodeWarrior Development Studio for Microcontrollers and the Freescale JM60 GUI Installer. A single CR123A 3V Lithium battery provides the required power and a single push-button switch serves as the user interface to cycle through the three operating states of the badge:

  • Receive
  • Transmit (or TV-B-Gone Mode if no SD card is inserted)
  • Sleep

A total of 8,500 badges were manufactured and eight different text cut-outs and soldermask/silkscreen color combinations were used to denote the different DEFCON clientele: Human, Goon, Staff, Press, Speaker, Vendor, Contest Organizer, and Uber (awarded to the winners of official DEFCON contests).

Grand Idea Studio once again hosted the DEFCON Badge Hacking Contest to award the most ingenious, obscure, mischievous, or technologically astounding badge modification created during the weekend conference. There were 20 official entries in this year's contest. The winning entry by the Greek Geeks was a Human Password Generator: A software application on a PC laptop tracked the motion of the badge's LEDs via a webcam and sent a hash of the motion profile over USB to the badge, which then computed the password based on the motion hash and transferred the result back to the PC. Additional contest information can be found at the official DEFCON 16 Contest Results page.

Infrared Test Unit:
Selected Badge Hacking Contest Entries:
  • Project Files: Front Row Badge: Apple Front Row and HP Pavilion DV Laptop remote control emulation (BonzoESC, Sterling, Critta, and Jymbolia)
  • Project Files: TV-B-A.D.D. and TV-B-P0wn: Continuous channel changing of any Philips TV within the badge's range and hotel TV administrator access based on Major Malfunction's Old Skewl Hacking - Infrared work (Major Malfunction)
  • Project Files: Cellular Automaton: Simulates Wolfram-style cellular automata. Can store/load simulation data to/from the SD card (Patrick Cruce and Michael McGraw-Herdeg)
  • Project Files: Web Server Badge: Badge-based web server. Stores static content on SD card (Orbital_sFear, Dislo, DJ Hobo Bastard, Kury)