Hack the Power!

I’m really excited to announce that the Solar Energy Association at the University of California, Merced, is about to begin work on a big project in collaboration with the Association of Computing Machinery and HackMerced! We will be teaching students how to hack a solar panel array at HackMerced’s Local Learn Day, “Hacktually II,” taking place on 13 November 2021. You can register here: HackMerced.com.

This is a really exciting collaboration for me to see as someone who is involved in all three of the aforementioned organizations and was initially the one who orchestrated this collaborative effort. We will first be creating a networked and computerized model solar panel array based on a Raspberry Pi hooked up to some servos adjusting the angle of incidence between the solar panels and the sun. The servos will be controlled and interacted with via a front-end web application interface with an RCE vulnerability intentionally laced within the back-end. This event will teach students how to scan and hack wireless networks and hosts, fuzz for vulnerabilities, gain initial access, achieve privilege escalation and persistence, and finally shut down the device.

Tonight, I just finished teaching the 2nd Python workshop (out of 3) for the Solar Energy Association in collaboration with Engineering Service Learning. It was an awesome event and I’m really happy to have seen so many people show up and have a blast! Immediately afterwards was our general meeting where we met plenty of new members and got a team together for “Hack the Power!” This Saturday will be our first subteam meeting where we’ll get groups together and delegate tasks. I’m really excited to do this, and I hope our members can resonate with that same enthusiasm!

Happy trails!