BSODomizer HD: A Mischievous FPGA and HDMI Platform for the (M)asses

Presented at DEF CON 24 (2016), Aug. 5, 2016, 10 a.m. (60 minutes)

At DEF CON 16 in 2008, we released the original BSODomizer (, an open source VGA pranking tool and introductory hacking platform for the multicore Propeller micro-controller. Hours of productivity were replaced with rage and frustration as unwitting computer users were confronted with fake Blue Screens of Death and revolting ASCII art. But, the world has changed. The machines have risen in capability. HDMI is the graphical transmission protocol of choice and hacking with micro-controllers is standard issue. The as-seen-on-HDTV duo of Joe Grand and Zoz return with the next generation of mischievous hardware, a device that supplants or captures any inline HDMI signal in a discreet, pentest-worthy package. BSODomizer HD is an FPGA-based system that not only improves on the graphics interception and triggering features of its predecessor, but can now capture screenshots of a target system and also provides a fully open design that you can use for your own experiments into the mystical world of massive, customizable arrays of digital logic. We'll guide you through the process of going from lamer zero to hacker hero with FPGAs, while savagely fucking with a few unfortunate friends along the way!


  • Joe Grand / Kingpin - Grand Idea Studio   as Joe Grand (Kingpin)
    Joe Grand, also known as Kingpin, is a computer engineer, hardware hacker, former DEF CON badge designer, runner, daddy, honorary doctor, TV host, member of L0pht Heavy Industries, and the proprietor of Grand Idea Studio. Twitter: @joegrand Zoz is a robotics engineer, prankster, and renaissance hacker. Other than BSODs, things he enjoys faking include meteorite impacts, crop circles, and alien crash landings.
  • Zoz