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 Post subject: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 17:21 
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Joined: October 24th, 2009, 15:22
Posts: 580
Location: Poland
Sorry for simple language, but i copy/paste this text from FB, I'm so lazy to write it again ;) I know that almost all of you know details of this kind of job.

We take's also action on data recovery for hopeless cases. Recently we received damaged pendrive. Once connected - it did not show any signs of life. We decided to took pendrive apart. It turned out that we have monolith device - integrated controller system and memory module in one piece. In this case pinout must be developed. It means that we need to connect 16 small wires with corresponding points on the device. Usually, we have around 25-35 points on device. Of course, it can't be done randomly but we need to work according to the communication protocol to make it possible to read information directly from memory module.
We do it on regular basis. But the main problem is what to do when on the device surface we do not have enough connections? Light solution - you can buy X-ray machine with hight resolution (about 0.5 MLN $), x-ray device and find connection points. Hard solution - with deduction approach, experience do the same job. If on the pendrive surface you can't find sufficient number of the connections, sometimes we must go deeper: 2nd layer and deeper: 3rd layer…. and deeper: 4th layer. Only at the 4th layer we found missing connections to the memory module. You can view it on the attached picture (currently we have multilayer electronic PCBs, 8th layer and more). While working with such a device you need to be very carefully and try not to damage remaining connections because data will be lost.
All the work was done exemplary, the memory module was read and all data recovered :)


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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 17:37 
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Joined: September 8th, 2009, 18:21
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Location: Australia
Very clever!

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 19:09 
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Joined: December 4th, 2012, 1:35
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
without xray, how did you know where to dig, without damaging any needed traces in 2nd and 3rd layer and hitting the correct point in the 4th?


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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 22:39 
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Joined: July 30th, 2012, 3:37
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Location: Fairfield, CT USA
How do you go down a layer so precisely? I can go down one layer with an Xacto knife before damaging the PCB on those tiny USB 3.0 drives.
When I use a laser to ablate the area I hit silicon like a MicroSD card.

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 2:55 
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Joined: October 24th, 2009, 15:22
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Location: Poland
We take into consider:
- we find most of signals from pinout
- we analyzed traces and vias position on monolith

Based on this info we can guess with high probability where the memory module is inside and where we can meet traces. To remove layers we use scalpel and dremel with small abrasive stone. But you MUST BE VERY carefully.

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 3:43 
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Joined: November 29th, 2006, 10:08
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Location: UK
Awesome work as always Michal!

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 5:33 
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Joined: January 28th, 2009, 10:54
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Location: Greece
:shock:
Incredible!
Amazing work Michal!

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 7:28 
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Joined: February 9th, 2009, 16:13
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Location: Ontario, Canada
This is why Arvika is my goto lab for outsourcing complex flash cases. Of course, Michael makes most seem simple with how fast he is able to recover them.

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 20:58 
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Joined: December 4th, 2012, 1:35
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Thanks Michal, it makes sense. Thanks for sharing, it is always interesting to see any flash work, and success instead of the 100th doom and gloom story!

These very simple devices have a few complicating factors. It takes confidence to go digging around the layers. These are almost certainly test/research devices, not customers, so if you get the urge to try it, remember Michals warning. don't try this on customers devices unless you either are the last stop before the rubbish bin, or are VERY confident.

If you are researching this, you could buy 3 or 4 of the exact same drive and start mapping the layers. You are able to afford a few small mistakes. Magnification is a real help here.

If it is a customers, it is very hard in a lot of cases to find the exact same device. some look extremely similar an the surface, but can have revised traces inside layers, have different firmware etc making it hard to ever get a 100% same donor.

I know that Arvika has helped not only their customers and other labs with outsourcing, but also the tool vendors with developing the tools themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: September 1st, 2018, 20:24 
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Joined: August 18th, 2010, 17:35
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
Nice research initiative. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Monolith UFD - interesting case
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2018, 7:34 
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Joined: March 6th, 2010, 3:46
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Location: Kolding | Denmark
Good job Michał :)

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