Introduction to rdist

I’m Nate Lawson, and I write about embedded and kernel security, cryptography, software protection, and the occasional trip into retrocomputing. During the day, I assist companies with the design and review of security aspects of their products. My personal site,, provides copies of my latest articles, talks, code, and other resources. I post more time-sensitive material here, on the following topics.

  • Embedded security: authenticated boot, tamper resistance, emulation detection, and side-channel attacks and defenses.
  • Software protection: the cat-and-mouse game of reversing and hiding code behavior, mostly on the x86 platform.
  • Cryptography: cryptosystem design and attacks, cohesiveness, evaluation of common approaches.
  • Kernel security: low-level programming techniques, rootkits, and virtualization.
  • C64: copy protection and lessons in system design from the past

I’ve been in the security industry since 1994. You may know me from developing the first commercial network IDS, RealSecure. I was a FreeBSD committer from 2002 – 2008, focused on power management, SCSI, and USB.

My consulting company is Root Labs. I consult with various customers for designs involving embedded, kernel security, and cryptography. My previous company was Cryptography Research, where I co-developed the Blu-ray content protection system, aka BD+.

I hope to provide you thoughtful articles that are each worth your time. Thanks and enjoy!