by NewAE Technology Inc

A hardware-based USB 2.0 monitor & trigger platform, controlled from Python

View all updates Oct 22, 2019

Analyzing Captured PhyWhisperer Data with ViewSB

by Jean-Pierre Thibault

ViewSB is a new open source USB analyzer software from Kate Temkin and Great Scott Gadgets that we’re leveraging to provide a nice and easy way to interpret the raw USB data that PhyWhisperer-USB captures.

ViewSB also supports several other open source USB capture tools (both hardware and software), so if you’re doing a lot of USB work, you’re likely to find yourself using ViewSB with tools other than PhyWhisperer too.

ViewSB can be used in two ways with PhyWhisperer:

1. From within PhyWhisperer:

Intepreting USB packets is now just a couple of function calls away in your PhyWhisperer notebooks or scripts:

2. Standalone ViewSB:

You can also use ViewSB to capture USB data using the PhyWhisperer, interpret it, and present it, all with a single command. Here’s what calling ViewSB to capture data with PhyWhisperer looks like:

$ phywhisperer --size 8192 --pattern 45 --mask 255

The arguments in this example specify that:

  • the PhyWhisperer data acquisition backend be used;
  • PhyWhisperer captures 8192 events upon seeing a data byte of 0x2D.

ViewSB currently has three presentations frontends; here’s what the output looks like for each:

Simple text mode:

Interactive text mode:

Here’s a recorded terminal session showing it in real-time. The delay before USB packets appear is because the script power-cycles the USB target in order to capture what it does when it powers up:

GUI mode:


So while PhyWhisperer isn’t primarily designed as a sniffing tool, ViewSB integration makes it pretty easy to see what’s going on and pick a good trigger point:

Manufacturing Update

Just in case you are wondering - manufacturing is still ongoing. We don’t have any fun updates from that side as the boards are still at the contract manufacture. All parts needed were in-stock at the required quantity & the first batch (5 units) has been done. Those are en-route to us right now for a quick test before the full production run happens. We’re still on-track for delivery of the final boards early November. The next update will have more on that!

About the Author

Jean-Pierre Thibault

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Product Choices


PhyWhisperer-USB Kit

A PhyWhisperer-USB in enclosure, MCX to SMA cable, MCX to BNC cable, and 2x micro-USB cables. Save $25 off the planned retail price.


NewAE Technology Inc

NewAE developed the ChipWhisperer, the first open-source tool for side-channel power analysis and fault injection. They have shipped over 2000 of their low-cost boards & now offer a wide range of products to help embedded designers evaluate and develop embedded hardware security solutions.

Colin O'Flynn

Jean-Pierre Thibault

Claire Frias

Franz Heubach

Alex Dewar

Liam Craig


QA Manager


Assistant (to the) QA Manager

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