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Published on Mar 1, 2016
In this talk we will go through the complete process of reverse engineering an unknown digital signal. Although a widespread car key fob from Hella will serve as an example, the aim is to provide a generally applicable walk-through. To decode the signal we will user different tools to determine its frequency, modulation, encoding, and finally its frame format. More specifically, we will use fosphor, baudline, gqrx, and audacity to study the signal in time and frequency domain. Even though we will just have a quick glance at the different applications, the goal is to show they capabilities and more importantly how they can be combined. Once we figured out the waveform and its parameters, we will go ahead an build a receiver in GNU Radio. GNU Radio is a real-time signal processing framework that already provides all means to demodulate the signal and produce a bit stream. At this point we will use command line tools and simple python scripts to study the bit stream to derive the frame format. Finally, we add a small technology specific block to GNU Radio that decodes and parses the frames to build a complete receiver. Hopefully, this will provide some hands-on experience and give an overview over the various tools that are available to study and decode the signals out there.