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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, 2023 represents ESC's 16-year anniversary.

Past ESC competitions have focused on data exfiltration attacks against IoT devices, hacking the firmware of a RISC-V wifi access point and executing side channel/fault injection attacks using a popular ChipWhisperer board.


This year's ESC focuses on side channel attacks (SCA) on cyber-physical systems (CPS). Cyber-physical systems are used by hundreds of industries and in many critical infrastructure systems. If these CPSs are not properly setup they can leak information even if they are using cryptographically secure software. This year, teams will investigate a range of SCAs on an Arduino Uno based CPS running several firmware that expose various side channels.


The event comprises a qualification and a competition phase where teams will be able to explore several variations of a CPS and exploit side channels they find while suggesting mitigations for the found exploits.

Purple - Blue Gradient

competition timeline

22 September 2023
28 September 2023
30 September 2023
03 November 2023
8-11 November 2023
Registration with HotCRP system deadline
Qualification reports due in HotCRP
Announcement of teams qualified to the final phase
Final PDF report uploaded to HotCRP
Competition Dates (Global)

(All deadlines are 11:59 pm eastern US timezone)

Competition Details
Competiion Timeline
Purple - Blue Gradient


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

Purple - Blue Gradient

2022 winners

Congratulations to our winning teams! 
2022 Winners
Purple - Blue Gradient

2021 winners

Congratulations to our winning teams! 


2021 Winners

2021 finalists

Congratulations to our 2021 Finalists
Global Prize Mark (2).png
2021 Finalists

For US Region Only

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