ESC is an educational, research-oriented tournament aimed at hacking into the hardware of embedded systems. First run in 2008, it is the oldest hardware security competition in the world. 2021 represents ESC's 14 year anniversary. 


Past ESC competitions have focused on the security of radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, data exfiltration attacks against IoT devices, and in 2020, hacking the firmware of a wifi access point running on a RISC-V IoT platform using open-source reverse engineering tools.

This year’s challenge will focus on side channel and fault injection attacks targeting hardware platforms that can exfiltrate sensitive data. Competitors will demonstrate their skills using a popular ChipWhisperer board in a red team vs. blue team scenario to either launch or mitigate these powerful attacks.

Purple - Blue Gradient

2021 winners

Congratulations to our winning teams! 


Purple - Blue Gradient

NewAE Technology ChipWhisperer-Nano Board

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CSAW'19 Europe ESC 1st Place Team

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CSAW'19 US-CAN ESC 1st Place Team Shellphish, UC Santa Barbara

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NewAE Technology ChipWhisperer-Nano Board

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competition timeline

15 August 2021
1 October 2021
1 October 2021
3 October 2021
   4 October 2021
5 November 2021
12 November 2021
Qualification Round Start
Extended Registration Deadline 
Extended Qualification Report Submission Deadline
Finalist Notification
First Challenge Set Released
Final Challenge Deliverables Deadline
Virtual Final Demos & Presentations

2021 finalists

Congratulations to our 2021 Finalists
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Thank you to Siemens for sponsoring the Chipwhisperer boards used by Finalist teams.


Our sincere thanks to the panel of judges who lend their support and expertise

in the assessment of finalist teams' research.


competition organizers

The competition is organized under the supervision of Assistant Professor Nektarios Tsoutsos and the global challenge leads at the University of Delaware. 

Email the Global Leads