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Course Description

Dive into the intricate world of embedded systems with Boston Cybernetics Institute’s premier 35-day Senior CNO Developer Course. Designed for cybersecurity professionals who aim to master the realm of embedded systems, this course offers a comprehensive exploration of the critical components that constitute the backbone of embedded technology.

Participants will engage in a robust curriculum that spans from the fundamentals of embedded systems components to the sophisticated dance of FPGA programming and RTOS fundamentals. Hands-on experiences with lab hardware set the stage for practical understanding, while in-depth sessions on bootloaders, emulation, and file systems equip you with the skills to navigate and manipulate the core of embedded systems.

Understand the complexities of storage media, communication methods, and hardware-based security measures. Learn how to bridge the gap between theoretical digital logic and concrete hardware design, ensuring that your knowledge in FPGA programming is not only current but also operationally effective.

With a focus on DoD applications, you'll explore cross-compilation techniques that enable the deployment of reliable and resilient software in hostile environments. This course is not just about learning; it’s about applying your skills in a competitive landscape where cybersecurity is a critical component of national security.

The military relevance of this course is unmistakable. The skills acquired are directly transferable to the development and fortification of systems that are at the forefront of defense technology. Whether for private sector innovation or the enhancement of the US military's technological edge, this course ensures that your expertise will contribute to creating more secure and robust systems.

Prepare to be challenged and to grow. Our teaching methodology is battle-tested, emulating real-world scenarios that demand quick thinking, adaptability, and innovative problem-solving skills. Join us at the Boston Cybernetics Institute, where your journey into the depths of embedded systems will arm you with the knowledge to not just participate but lead in the field of cybersecurity.

Curriculum Overview: Detailed Course Breakdown

Components of Embedded Systems

Understanding the components of embedded systems is the foundation upon which the rest of the course is built. We delve into the intricacies of microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators, exploring their roles and interdependencies within an embedded environment. From a cybersecurity perspective, we assess how each component can be a potential entry point for security threats, and how to harden these systems against exploitation.

Lab Hardware

Our hands-on approach is embodied in the state-of-the-art lab hardware provided to each student. This hardware ranges from general-purpose microcontroller boards to advanced custom-designed circuits, which are used to simulate real-world scenarios. This not only allows for practical experience but also exposes students to the potential hardware vulnerabilities that could be targeted by adversaries.


In the context of secure embedded system development, the bootloader is more than just a piece of software that loads the operating system. We dissect the role of bootloaders in security, such as verifying digital signatures of firmware and implementing secure boot processes, which are essential in preventing unauthorized code execution.


Emulation is a critical tool for developing and testing embedded systems. Students learn how to create and use emulators to simulate hardware, which enables the testing of software in a controlled environment. In terms of security, we cover how emulation can be used to detect and analyze system vulnerabilities without exposing actual hardware to risk.

File Systems

Embedded file systems are often overlooked in security models, but they are vital for the integrity and confidentiality of data. We cover the selection and implementation of robust file systems, focusing on encryption, access controls, and how to protect sensitive data from being compromised.


Peripherals extend the functionality of embedded systems but also increase their attack surface. Our course covers how to securely integrate peripherals, ensuring that data flow to and from these devices is protected, and that they do not become the weak link in the security chain.

Storage Media

The course addresses the security concerns associated with various types of storage media used in embedded systems. We discuss the importance of secure data storage, encryption techniques, and the potential risks involved with removable and fixed storage media.

Communication Methods

Secure communication is paramount in the operation of embedded systems. We explore different communication protocols and their inherent security features, including but not limited to SPI, I2C, UART, and wireless communications. Students learn how to implement secure communication channels to protect data in transit from interception or tampering.

Hardware Based Security Measures

We delve into hardware-based security measures such as Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs), Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), and physical unclonable functions (PUFs). These are critical for establishing a hardware root of trust, key storage, and ensuring the overall security of the system from physical attacks.

Hardware Design and Digital Logic

Understanding the principles of hardware design and digital logic is essential for recognizing potential hardware-based threats. This includes studying how systems can be designed to be resilient against side-channel attacks and fault injection, as well as the implementation of countermeasures in digital logic design.

FPGA Programming

FPGA programming is an advanced skill that enables the customization of hardware for specific security needs. The course includes instruction on creating specialized security functions within FPGAs, which can be used to implement complex encryption algorithms or to create secure communication interfaces.

RTOS Fundamentals

Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) are a cornerstone of embedded systems. Our comprehensive coverage includes the configuration of RTOS for security, understanding task management, and ensuring that real-time constraints do not compromise the security posture of the system.

Cross Compilation

The ability to cross-compile is crucial for embedded systems development. We cover the tools and techniques necessary for cross-compiling applications from a development system to the target architecture. This includes an emphasis on the secure configuration of the build environment and the implications of cross-compilation on system security.

Who Should Take This Course?

This course is meticulously designed for a diverse range of professionals and students who are aspiring to deepen their expertise in embedded systems with a keen eye on cybersecurity. It is particularly suited for:

  • Embedded Systems Engineers: Professionals looking to bolster their skill set with advanced knowledge in secure hardware and software design.

  • Cybersecurity Specialists: Individuals specializing in cybersecurity who wish to expand their domain expertise to include the intricacies of embedded systems security.

  • Hardware Designers: Engineers and designers eager to understand the security implications of digital and analog hardware design.

  • Software Developers: Programmers and developers interested in low-level programming and the security aspects of cross-compilation and system integration.

  • Computer Science Students: University students or recent graduates seeking hands-on experience and specialized knowledge that bridges the gap between theoretical computer science and practical cybersecurity.

  • Technical Managers: Project and technical leads who need to manage or oversee embedded systems projects and must ensure their teams are up-to-date on the latest security practices.

  • Innovators and Inventors: Individuals working on new products or startups that will be incorporating embedded systems and require a solid foundation in security to protect their innovations.

  • Security Researchers: Those in the field of security research looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of embedded systems to better identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.

The course assumes a basic understanding of electronics and programming, making it ideal for those who have foundational knowledge and are motivated to enhance the security and reliability of embedded systems in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Embark on this transformative 35-day journey into the heart of embedded systems with a pivotal focus on cybersecurity. This course is your gateway to mastering the craft of creating robust, secure embedded technologies. From the intricacies of hardware components to the finesse of FPGA programming and RTOS fundamentals, each module is tailored to equip you with the knowledge to not just participate but lead in the future of secure embedded design. Whether you're a developer, a designer, or a cybersecurity enthusiast, this course is your stepping stone to becoming an indispensable asset in the high-stakes arena of embedded systems. Secure your spot today and unlock the potential to shape the future of technology with confidence and expertise!

About Boston Cybernetics Institute

Boston Cybernetics Institute, PBC was created by former MIT Lincoln Lab cybersecurity researchers to give meaningful niche cyber instruction to a new generation of cybersecurity professionals.


We avoid the normal style of teaching with PowerPoint and lectures, opting to provide instead real-life engaging instruction that takes place in a customized environment. We have given our style of instruction to multiple DoD agencies, US commercial companies, and international companies.


Instructors at Boston Cybernetics Institute

Jeremy Blackthorne.png

Jeremy Blackthorne

President of the Boston Cybernetics Institute

Jeremy Blackthorne is a Lead Instructor at the Boston Cybernetics Institute (BCI). Before BCI, he was a researcher in the Cyber System Assessments group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Blackthorne is the co-creator and instructor for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) courses: Modern Binary Exploitation, Spring 2015 and Malware Analysis, Spring 2013. ​Jeremy has published research at various academic and industry conferences. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is an alumnus of RPISEC. He holds a BS and MS in computer science. ​ Blackthorne was an active member of the Student Security Club and CTF team, RPISEC, from 2012 to 2015, where he taught seminars on Reverse-Engineering, Exploitation, and various other Cybersecurity topics.


Clark Wood

security researcher and instructor

Clark Wood is a security researcher and instructor at the Boston Cybernetics Institute (BCI), focusing on Reverse Engineering, Exploitation, and CI/CD. He recently built a Reverse-Engineering and Exploitation platform for a DoD customer and is the Lead Engineer for BCI’s Government Services. Clark was formerly on the technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he was a member of the Cyber System Assessments Group. ​Clark holds a BA in Economics from the University of Florida, a BS and MS in Computer Science from Florida State University, and a Master’s in Technology and Policy from MIT. ​


Rodolfo Cuevas

security researcher and instructor

Rodolfo Cuevas is a security researcher and instructor at BCI, where he focuses on understanding how design constraints can be used to limit the impact of an attacker on a system. His research combines the adversarial mindset with approaches influenced by Systems and Control Theory. ​ Rodolfo was a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and began his career as a RADAR and Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) analyst. Later, Rodolfo transitioned to evaluating and Red-Teaming tactical and commercial cyber systems in support of DoD and other government programs. ​ Rodolfo holds a BS, M.Eng., and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University.


Reed Porada

security researcher and instructor

Reed Porada is a security researcher and instructor at BCI, focused on getting to the "so what" of both defensive and offensive cyber measures. Reed also leads BCI training in Cyber Systems Analysis, focusing on developing systems-thinking skills of developers up to managers. ​Reed was a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for ten years, where he was responsible for Test and Evaluation, Test Automation Research, Red-Teaming of Cyber Systems, and Blue System Architectures. Reed was a computer scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory focused on wireless communication systems. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MS in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Senior CNO Developer Course: Embedded Systems



Upon request


35 days

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