What is HACK@DAC?

HACK@DAC is a hardware security challenge contest, co-located with the Design and Automation Conference (DAC), for finding and exploiting security-critical vulnerabilities in hardware and firmware. In this competition, participants compete to identify the security vulnerabilities, implement the related exploits, propose mitigation techniques or patches, and report them. The participants are encouraged to use any tools and techniques with a focus on theory, tooling, and automation.

The contest mimics real-world scenarios where security engineers have to find vulnerabilities in the given design. The vulnerabilities are diverse and range from data corruption to leaking sensitive information leading to compromise of the entire computing platform. The open-source SoC riddled with security vulnerabilities has been co-developed by Intel, the Technical University of Darmstadt, and Texas A&M University. HACK@DAC has been successfully running since 2018 with several hundred contestants from academia and industry. 

The winners of the competition will be honored in person at the DAC award ceremony July 9-13, 2023 at Moscone West Center, San Francisco, Calif.    

Who Can Participate?

Each team must meet all of the below eligibility requirements:

  • A team member can be a student or a working professional.
  • A team can consist of up to 4 members excluding the adviser.
  • A team member cannot be associated with multiple teams.
  • Due to conflict of interest, individuals associated with Texas A&M University and TU Darmstadt are not allowed to participate.
  • A team can include members with different affiliations.

There are two team categories: teams composed of only students, and teams composed of one or more industry-affiliated members. Both categories will solve the same problem, but they will be evaluated against teams of the same category.
No entry fee is required to participate in the competition.
The organizers reserve the right to disqualify entries at their discretion.


More information to be released in 2023!