Skip to content

We’re joining the Badge Life Movement: Discover the CovertSwarm Badge at DEF CON 31

Will the CovertSwarm Badge will be joining your Badge Life collection at DEF CON 31?

It is the week leading up to DEF CON 31 and, today, we’re sharing something really special with you.

We will be bringing our CovertSwarm badge with us to Las Vegas for the very first time.

As the Badge Life culture continues to flourish, we’re excited our own iteration is joining this artistic circuit board revolution. Our team will be armed with a limited set of these 60 badges for the passionate attendees of DEF CON 31 in Las Vegas to test themselves against an elaborate hardware challenge that has a story woven into it.

The Badge Life phenomenon has been a growing trend within the cybersecurity industry, captivating ethical hackers and enthusiasts alike with its unique blend of artistry and technical challenge. These badges have evolved from paper and plastic to collectible mini-computers of all shapes and sizes, coveted and collected by security professionals and enthusiasts. 

The rise of #Badgelife signifies one of the most creative offshoots of security conferences, with its underground culture of hardware art and ingenuity – to the point these artistic circuit boards are not just collectibles; they are tokens of achievement and a testament to the ingenious minds that crack their codes.

So, what makes the CovertSwarm badge so special? It’s not just a giveaway – you’ll have to earn it by completing our ‘secret CovertSwarm scavenger hunt challenge’. All will become clear on arrival

At CovertSwarm, giving back to the cyber community is a core value that we don’t take for granted. We see Badge Life as more than just a trend; it’s an entire community that fuels creativity, collaboration, and learning. 

DEF CON, in particular, has become a haven for hardware hacking enthusiasts, offering a diverse array of badges that spark curiosity and inspire conversations among attendees.

Alessandro Grisa and Jorge Diaz, two of our Hive members who have been working on this badge for the last year of our team, said: “Our badge isn’t just a piece of hardware; it’s a story waiting to be unraveled. We’ve carefully embedded a narrative into our badge, challenging participants to think outside the box and explore different possibilities, encouraging persistence and critical thinking.”

Luke Potter, our Chief Operating Officer, emphasizes the significance of engaging in the Badge Life culture. “By contributing our badge to DEF CON, we’re not just adding to the collection; we’re contributing to an incredible community that thrives on creativity and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The sense of camaraderie and the spirit of innovation at events like DEF CON are truly inspiring.”

We’ve poured over a year of passion and dedication into creating the CovertSwarm badge, and we can’t wait to share this thrilling experience with you all at DEF CON 31 from the 10th through to the 13th of August.

So, if you’re heading to DEF CON 31 in Las Vegas, be sure to stop by our booth –  you can’t miss us with our orange t-shirts – take on the challenge, and earn your exclusive CovertSwarm badge. 

See you at DEF CON 31!

Can you solve the story behind the CovertSwarm badge?

CovertSwarm International Space Organization (CSISO) organizes intergalactic operations, leading Swarms to space exploration.

During the last voyage, a malfunction caused an incident that blocked our protagonists in a wormhole, from where even the light couldn’t escape.

Will you be able to help them to come back home safely? Jump into the challenge

The objective of each player is to fix the CSCMOD-A328P (the CovertSwarm badge) module by solving every challenge on their way. The challenges are meant to be a 101 introduction to the incredible world of hardware hackers.

Collect your badge, connect, and begin your adventure with us! 

Fortunately, none of the storyline* for this challenge is real but it is made by real people, and we have some real rules. Also, this is our first attempt at building a badge, so be kind.  


  • Interactive modes: 
    • press G and C buttons for 5 seconds (ish) to enter Piano Mode. 
    • press F and D buttons for 5 seconds (ish) to enter Animation Mode, then use G and C to move through the unlocked animations.
  • No fuses are set because we wanted to keep the project as open as possible. You could debug and probably dump the flash. So, to fully enjoy the challenges and the learning process, don’t cheat!
  • Flags format is CS2023{th1S_1s_A_fak3_fl4g}, but you only have to submit the content of it (e.g. th1S_1s_A_fak3_fl4g)
  • You’re expected to use your favorite tools. We suggest a good logic analyzer, a decent oscilloscope, a multimeter, your fancy solder iron, and either a Raspberry Pico or a much cooler ChipWhisperer.
  • If you are stuck or lack ideas this might be helpful: The Hardware Hacking Handbook by Jasper van Woudenberg and Colin O’Flynn.
  • Follow Wheaton’s Law. This means, don’t hack our website, don’t ruin the fun for others, etc. You get the idea.
  • HAVE FUN and do not destroy your new toy (short circuits may happen trying to solve some challenges, be careful)!

*Some of the characters are based on real people, but only in a parody Evil Universe Pointy Spock Beard sort of way. The real-life people are awesome.

Scroll to the next section of the page