embedded security challenge

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. 2020 represents ESC's 13 year anniversary. 


Past ESC competitions have focused on the security of radio frequency identification (RFID) readers and data exfiltration attacks against IoT devices. 

This year's ESC focuses on the security of Internet of Things (IoT), which are embedded devices with network connectivity. IoT devices are part of most modern smart infrastructures with an estimate of over 20 billion IoT devices connected today. ESC 2020 will task contestants with hacking the firmware of a wifi access point running on a RISC-V IoT platform using open-source reverse engineering tools.

competition timeline

Competition details published & registration opens:

7 August 2020

Registration & report deadline:

27 September 2020

Finalist Notification:

29 September 2020 

Virtual Final Presentations & Demos:

5 - 7 November 2020

Award Ceremony:

8 November 2020


Presentation details to be released at the point of Finalist notification if not earlier.  

participating regions

competition organizers & judges

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

2020 finalists & winners


© 2021 by NYU Tandon School of Engineering CSAW 

CSAW'19 Europe ESC 1st Place Team