Monday, May 06, 2013

Introducing Daisho

At TROOPERS13, Dominic Spill and I presented Introducing Daisho, Monitoring Multiple Technologies at the Physical Layer (video, slides). It was the first public presentation about Daisho, a new project to build an open source hardware platform for in-line monitoring of several different wired communication media at the lowest possible layer. The project targets high speed communication technologies (Gigabit Ethernet, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, and HDMI in particular) for which limited tools exist today.

A basic principle of Project Daisho is that we want to monitor communication media at the physical layer or as close to the physical layer as we are able to achieve. Since any monitoring platform is capable of reconstructing activity at the monitored layer or higher, we think that security applications will be best served by monitoring at the lowest possible layer.

The platform is designed to be used as a pair of circuit boards that work together. (If you look up "daisho" you'll find that it is a word for a pair of swords; our Daisho is a pair of boards.) The mainboard consists primarily of an FPGA and a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port for connecting to a host computer. The front-end module has a pair of transceivers and connectors for a particular target communication medium. Each target technology will have its own front-end module. Data arriving at one connector on the front-end module are passed to the FPGA on the mainboard and then exit the other connector on the front-end module. This man-in-the-middle architecture allows us to perform in-line monitoring and should also permit future active applications including injection or modification of transmissions on the target medium.

Dominic and I are joined on this project by Marshall Hecht, Jared Boone, Mike Kershaw, and Benjamin Vernoux. It is a big project, and we are thankful to have support from DARPA's Cyber Fast Track program.

The project is entirely open source hardware and software, and it has many potential applications beyond monitoring of communication systems. We're especially excited to be producing the world's first open source USB 3.0 device core for implementation of SuperSpeed USB with a transceiver IC and FPGA. (The USB 2.0 functions are already working!)


Z3r0C00L said...

NIce Article dude, I came across this at

I really want to come to ACT roxmon to see your presentation on Daisho.

This all depends on bloody work :)

Anwyas, thumbs up and keep blogging about Daisho, highly interested.


Herbert Poetzl said...

Hey, Herbert here from the apertus AXIOM project (FOSS/OH Cinema Camera).

I got a hint that you are working on high speed protocols like USB and HDMI, and I thought it might make sense to have a chat how we could collaborate and possibly share resources.

In any case, all the best,

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Unknown said...

A module with an RF Transceiver can be made. Making it a basic SDR.
I have done this before using the JESD204B.
Please check this out Might be possible.