Google Security Chip (GSC) Case Closed Debugging (CCD)

Cr50 is the firmware that runs on the Google Security Chip (GSC), which has support for Case Closed Debugging.

This document explains how to setup CCD, so you can access all of the necessary features to develop firmware on your Chrome OS device, access debug consoles, and disable hardware write protect.


Cr50 CCD was designed to restrict CCD access to device owners and is implemented through CCD privilege levels (Open, Unlocked, Locked) that can be used to enable access to different CCD capabilities. Capability settings can be modified to require certain privilege levels to access each capability. Device owners can use these settings to customize CCD so that it is as open or restricted as they want.

Cr50 CCD exposes 3 debug consoles: AP, EC, and Cr50 as well as control over Hardware Write Protect. Cr50 CCD also allows flashing the AP firmware or flashing the EC firmware.

Capability and Privilege Levels

Privilege Levels
Capability SettingDefinition
IfOpenedSpecified capability is allowed if Cr50 Privilege Level is Open.
UnlessLockedSpecified capability is allowed unless Cr50 Privilege Level is Locked.
AlwaysSpecified capability is always allowed, regardless of Cr50 Privilege Level.
Capability SettingPrivilege Level Required
UnlessLockedOpen or Unlocked
AlwaysOpen, Unlocked, Locked (any state)

CCD Capabilities

The default Cr50 privilege level is Locked with the following capability settings:

UartGscRxAPTxAlwaysAP console read access
UartGscTxAPRxAlwaysAP console write access
UartGscRxECTxAlwaysEC console read access
UartGscTxECRxIfOpenedEC console write access
FlashAPIfOpenedAllows flashing the AP
FlashECIfOpenedAllows flashing the EC
OverrideWPIfOpenedOverride hardware write protect
RebootECAPIfOpenedAllow rebooting the EC/AP from the Cr50 console
GscFullConsoleIfOpenedAllow access to restricted Cr50 console commands
UnlockNoRebootAlwaysAllow unlocking Cr50 without rebooting the AP
UnlockNoShortPPAlwaysAllow unlocking Cr50 without physical presence
OpenNoTPMWipeIfOpenedAllow opening Cr50 without wiping the TPM
OpenNoLongPPIfOpenedAllow opening Cr50 without physical presence
BatteryBypassPPAlwaysAllow opening Cr50 without physical presence and developer mode if the battery is removed
UnusedAlwaysDoesn't do anything
I2CIfOpenedAllow access to the I2C controller (used for measuring power)
FlashReadAlwaysAllow dumping a hash of the AP or EC flash
OpenNoDevModeIfOpenedAllow opening Cr50 without developer mode
OpenFromUSBIfOpenedAllow opening Cr50 from USB


Cr50 presents 3 consoles through CCD: AP, EC, and Cr50, each of which show up on your host machine as a /dev/ttyUSBX device when a debug cable (Suzy-Q or Type-C Servo v4) is plugged in to the DUT.

ConsoleDefault accessCapability Name
Cr50always read/write, but commands are limitedGscFullConsole enables the full set of Cr50 console commands
APread/writeUartGscRxAPTx / UartGscTxAPRx
ECread-onlyUartGscRxECTx / UartGscTxECRx

Connecting to a Console

When a debug cable (Suzy-Q or Type-C Servo v4) is plugged in to the DUT, the 3 consoles will show up as /dev/ttyUSBX devices. You can connect to them with your favorite terminal program (e.g., minicom, screen, etc). You can also use the usb_console command to connect to Cr50 (18d1:5014) and specify the interface to choose between the consoles.

# Install `usb_console`
(chroot) sudo emerge ec-devutils
# Connect to Cr50 console
(chroot) $ usb_console -d 18d1:5014
# Connect to AP console
(chroot) $ usb_console -d 18d1:5014 -i 1
# Connect to EC console
(chroot) $ usb_console -d 18d1:5014 -i 2

Using “servod” to access the console

servod can be used to create alternative console devices when combined with a Servo.

First, make sure your servo firmware is updated.

Next, start servod:

(chroot) $ sudo servod -b $BOARD

Then use dut-control to display the console devices:

(chroot) $ dut-control cr50_uart_pty ec_uart_pty cpu_uart_pty

Connect to the console devices with your favorite terminal program (e.g., minicom, screen, etc.).

CCD Open

Some basic CCD functionality is accessible by default: read-only access to the EC console, read-write access to the AP console, and a few basic Cr50 console commands. Note that while Cr50 has read-write access to the AP console by default, the AP console itself is disabled for production devices.

In order to access all CCD functionality or to modify capability settings, Cr50 CCD needs to be Open.

  1. Connect to the Cr50 console by connecting a Suzy-Q or Type-C Servo v4 to the DUT and running the following command:

    (chroot) $ usb_console -d 18d1:5014
    NOTE: If another program is already connected to the Cr50 console, you'll see tx [Errno 16] Resource Busy. For example, this will happen if servod is running.
  2. At the Cr50 console, use the version command to make sure you have a recent enough version to use CCD. The relevant version is either RW_A or RW_B, whichever has the asterisk next to it:

    cr50 > version
    Chip:    g cr50 B2-C
    Board:   0
    RO_A:  * 0.0.10/29d77172
    RO_B:    0.0.10/c2a3f8f9
    RW_A:  * 0.3.23/cr50_v1.9308_87_mp.320-aa1dd98  <---- This is the version
    RW_B:    0.3.18/cr50_v1.9308_87_mp.236-8052858
    BID A:   00000000:00000000:00000000 Yes
    BID B:   00000000:00000000:00000000 Yes
    Build:   0.3.23/cr50_v1.9308_87_mp.320-aa1dd98
             2019-10-14 19:18:05 @chromeos-ci-legacy-us-central2
  3. Production (MP) versions of Cr50 firmware use a minor version of 3: 0.3.x. Production firmware versions 0.3.9 or newer support CCD.

    Development (PrePVT) versions of Cr50 firmware use a minor version of 4: 0.4.x. Development firmware versions 0.4.9 or newer support CCD.

    Your device likely supports CCD if it was manufactured in the last few years. If you have an older version, follow the Updating Cr50 instructions before continuing.

  4. Put the device into Recovery Mode and enable Developer Mode.

    NOTE: Developer Mode has to be enabled as described. Using GBB flags to force Developer Mode will not work.

    If you can‘t put your device into Developer Mode because it doesn’t boot, follow the CCD Open Without Booting the Device instructions.

  5. Verify Cr50 knows the device is in Developer Mode by finding TPM: dev_mode in the Cr50 console ccd command output:

    cr50 > ccd
          TPM: dev_mode                     <==== This is the important part
  6. Start the CCD open process from the AP.

    (dut) $ gsctool -a -o
  7. Over the next 5 minutes you will be prompted to press the power button multiple times. After the last power button press the device will reboot.

    WARNING: Opening CCD causes Cr50 to forget that it is in Developer Mode, so when the device reboots, it will either say that the OS image is invalid or it will enter a bootloop. Use the key combinations to enter Recovery Mode and re-enable Developer Mode. See this bug for details.
  8. Use the ccd command on the Cr50 console to verify the state is Open:

    cr50 > ccd
    State: Opened
  9. The Open state is lost if Cr50 reboots, the device loses power (e.g., battery runs out and AC is not plugged in), or the battery is removed. Note that Cr50 does not reboot when the system reboots; it only reboots if it is updated, the devices loses power, the battery runs out, or it crashes. If you plan on flashing the AP firmware or flashing the EC firmware, it is recommended you modify the capability settings or set a CCD password, so you can reopen the device in the case that you accidentally brick it with bad firmware. The simplest way to do this is to reset to factory settings and enable testlab mode:

    cr50 > ccd reset factory
    cr50 > ccd testlab enable

    For full details, see the section on CCD Open Without Booting the Device.

Configuring CCD Capability Settings

Cr50 capabilities allow you to configure CCD to restrict or open the device as much as you want. You can use the ccd command on the Cr50 console to check and modify the capabilities, but CCD has to be Open to change the capabilities.

Setting capabilities you want to use to Always will make them accessible even if CCD loses the Open state, which happens when Cr50 reboots or the device loses power.

Basic CCD functionality is covered by UartGscTxECRx, UartGscRxECTx, UartGscTxAPRx, UartGscRxAPTx, FlashAP, FlashEC, OverrideWP, and GscFullConsole.



EC Console

If the EC console needs to be read-write even when CCD is Locked set the capability to Always:

cr50 > ccd set UartGscTxECRx Always

Restrict Consoles

If you want to restrict capabilities more than Always, you can set them to IfOpened, which will make it so that it is only accessible when CCD is Opened, not [Lock]ed:

Restrict EC
cr50 > ccd set UartGscTxECRx IfOpened
cr50 > ccd set UartGscRxECTx IfOpened
Restrict AP
cr50 > ccd set UartGscTxAPRx IfOpened
cr50 > ccd set UartGscRxAPTx IfOpened

Most Accessible

If you want things as accessible as possible and want all capabilities to be Always, you can run

cr50 > ccd reset factory

This will also permanently disable write protect. To reset write protect run

cr50 > wp follow_batt_pres atboot

To reset capabilities to Default run

cr50 > ccd reset

Flashing EC

Flashing the EC is restricted by the FlashEC capability.

The steps to flash the EC differ based on the board being used, but the flash_ec script will handle this for you.

(chroot) $ sudo servod -b $BOARD
(chroot) $ ~/trunk/src/platform/ec/util/flash_ec -i $IMAGE -b $BOARD

Flashing the AP

WARNING: Before attempting to flash the AP firmware, start with the CCD Open steps; if you flash broken firmware before opening CCD, you may make it impossible to restore your device to a working state.

Flashing the AP is restricted by the FlashAP capability.

(chroot) $ sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP -w $IMAGE

This default flashing command takes a very long time to complete, there are ways to speed up the flashing process by cutting some corners.

If you have many CCD devices connected, you may want to use the Cr50 serial number:

(chroot) $ lsusb -vd 18d1:5014 | grep iSerial

You can then add the serial number to the flashrom command:

(chroot) $ sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP,serial=$SERIAL -w $IMAGE

If you don‘t see Cr50 print any messages when you’re running the flashrom command and you have more than one Cr50 device connected to your workstation, you probably need to use the serial number.

Special Cases

Cr50 puts the device in reset to flash the AP. Due to hardware limitations Cr50 may not be able to disable hardware write protect while the device is in reset. If you want to reflash the AP RO firmware using CCD and your board has issues disabling hardware write protect, you may need to also disable software write protect.

To determine if the board you are using has this issue:

  1. Disable write protect using the Cr50 console command:

    cr50 > wp disable
  2. Check if hardware write protect disabled when the AP is off:

    (chroot) $ sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP --wp-status
  3. If the last command shows that hardware write protect is still enabled when the AP is off, then you need to disable software write protect:

    (chroot) $ flashrom -p host --wp-disable

Control Hardware Write Protect

Control of hardware write protect is restricted by the OverrideWP capability. When the capability is allowed, the hardware write protect setting can be controlled with the wp command in the Cr50 console. Otherwise, the hardware write protect is determined based on the presence of the battery.

Hardware Write Protect SettingBattery StateHardware Write Protect State
follow_batt_presN/A (Chromebox has no battery)Write Protect Screw means Enabled

Write Protect Commands

cr50 > wp [enable|disable|follow_batt_pres]

There are two write protect settings: the current setting and the atboot setting.

The wp command adjusts the current write protect setting that will last until Cr50 reboots or loses power. Note that Cr50 does not reboot when the rest of the system reboots. It will only reboot in the cases where the firmware is being updated, it crashes, the battery completely drains, the battery is removed, or power is otherwise lost.

The atboot setting is the state of the write protect when Cr50 boots; it defaults to follow_batt_pres.

To change the atboot setting, add the atboot arg to the end of the wp command:

cr50 > wp [enable|disable|follow_batt_pres] atboot

You can query the write protect state with gsctool:

(dut) $ gsctool -a -w

Flash WP: forced disabled  <-- Current hardware write protect state
 at boot: forced disabled  <-- "atboot" hardware write protect state

gsctool -a -w StatusHardware Write Protect State
forced disabledDisabled
forced enabledEnabled
enabledEnabled, following battery presence
disabledDisabled, following battery presence

Special Case Devices

Bob devices have a write protect screw in addition to battery presence. The write protect screw will force enable write protect until it's removed. If Cr50 is set to follow_batt_pres, you need to remove the write protect screw and disconnect the battery to disable write protect. If you run wp disable, you will also need to remove the screw.

If you are attempting to flash the AP, see the Flashing the AP Special Cases section for additional steps you may have to take to disable write protection.

UART Rescue mode


UART Rescue Mode is a feature of the Cr50 RO firmware that supports programming the RW firmware using only the UART interface. This is used to recover a bad RW firmware update (which should be rare).

This is also useful when bringing up new designs, as this allows to update Cr50 image even before USB CCD or TPM interfaces are operational.

UART rescue works on all existing devices, all it requires is that Cr50 console is mapped to a /dev/xxx device on the workstation (the same device used to attach a terminal to the console).

Rescue works as follows: when the RO starts, after printing the regular banner on the console it prints a magic string to the console and momentarily waits for the host to send a sync symbol, to indicate that an alternative RW will have to be loaded over UART. The RO also enters this mode if there is no valid RW to run.

When rescue mode is triggered, the RO is expecting the host to transfer a single RW image in hex format.

Install the cr50-rescue utility

The cr50-rescue utility is used to flash a given firmware to Cr50 using rescue mode. This tool must be installed inside the chroot.

(chroot) $ sudo emerge cr50-utils

Preparing an RW image

To prepare the signed hex RW image, fetch a released image from Google storage, which can be found by running:

(chroot) $ gsutil ls gs://chromeos-localmirror/distfiles/cr50*

(depending on your setup you might have to do this inside chroot). Copy the image you want to use for rescue to your workstation and extract from the tarball.

The latest Cr50 images can be found in the chromeos-cr50 ebuild. Generally, you should always use the PROD_IMAGE indicated in that file. Once rescued, the user can update to the PREPVT image later if needed.

Once the binary image is ready, use the following commands to carve out the RW A section out of it and convert it into hex format:

(chroot) $ dd if=<cr50 bin file> skip=16384 count=233472 bs=1
objcopy -I binary -O ihex --change-addresses 0x44000

then you can use as the image passed to cr50-rescue.

Programming the RW image with rescue mode

With servo_micro (or servo_v2 reworked for connecting to Cr50 console), run servod and disable Cr50 ec3po and UART timestamp:

(chroot) $ dut-control cr50_uart_timestamp:off dut-control cr50_ec3po_interp_connect:off

Get a raw Cr50 UART device path and use it for cr50-rescue argument -d below.

(chroot) $ dut-control raw_cr50_uart_pty

Prior to running cr50-rescue, the terminal from the Cr50 console UART must be disconnected, and Cr50 must be unpowered-- the system needs to have AC power and battery disconnected.

After ensuring those steps, the rescue command may be run as follows:

(chroot) $ cr50-rescue -v -i <path to the signed hex RW image> -d <cr50 console UART tty>

After starting the command, provide power to the board and rescue mode will start automatically. After flashing successfully (see sample output below), Cr50 must be unpowered again, by disconnecting AC power and battery.

Note that <cr50 console UART tty> above has to be a direct FTDI interface, pty devices created by servod do not work for this purpose. Use either servo-micro or a USB/UART cable. Note that multifunctional SPI-UART/FTDI/USB cables might not work, as they impose a significant delay in the UART stream, which makes the synchronization described below impossible.

cr50-rescue starts listening on the console UART and printing it out to the terminal. When the target is reset, cr50-rescue detects the Bldr | string in the target output, at this point the utility intercepts the boot process and the target proceeds to receiving the new RW image and saving it into flash. Note the currently present RW and RW_B images will be wiped out first.

Sample output

(chroot) $ cr50-rescue -v -i -d /dev/pts/0

low 00044000, high 0007cfff
base 00044000, size 00039000
..startAdr 00000000
..maxAdr 0x0003d000
..dropped to 0x0003a188
..skipping from 0x00000000 to 0x00004000
226 frames
(waiting for "Bldr |")
exp  ?36
Himg =2CD687F2B1579ED1E85C7F35055550A63B9B146E2CAC808295C59F97849F08E7
Hfss =184D83B3D89599C90E4852EF16F9FAEEEED07BC0AFDF1028136AA3C9F71D4F43
Hinf =44D21600B3723BDB0DCB9E0891E9F7373FC1BDE69598C9D7F04B1ABEB70529BD
exp  ?40
exp  ?48
exp  ?67
jump @00080400

Bldr |(waiting for "oops?|")1527394

CCD Open Without Booting the Device

If you can’t boot your device, you won’t be able to enable Developer Mode to send the open command from the AP. If you have enabled CCD on the device before, Cr50 may be configured in a way that you can still open Cr50.

Option 1: Remove the battery

If you can remove the battery, you can bypass the Developer Mode requirements. ccd open is allowed from the Cr50 console if the Chrome OS Firmware Management Parameters (FWMP) do not disable CCD and the battery is disconnected. This is the most universal method and will work even if you haven’t enabled CCD before.

  1. Disconnect the battery

  2. Send ccd open from the Cr50 console.

Option 2: “OpenNoDevMode” and “OpenFromUSB” are set to Always

If “OpenNoDevMode” and “OpenFromUSB” are set to Always, you will be able to open Cr50 from the Cr50 console without enabling Developer Mode:

cr50 > ccd open

You will still need physical presence (i.e., press the power button) unless testlab mode is also enabled:

cr50 > ccd testlab
       CCD test lab mode enabled


If CCD is Open, you can enable these settings with:

cr50 > ccd set OpenFromUSB Always
cr50 > ccd set OpenNoDevMode Always

Option 3: CCD Password is Set

If the CCD password is set, you can open from the Cr50 console without Developer Mode.

cr50 > ccd open $PASSWORD
cr50 > ccd unlock $PASSWORD

Alternatively, you can use gsctool, entering the password when prompted:

(dut) $ gsctool -a -o
(dut) $ gsctool -a -u


When CCD is Open, run the gsctool command and enter the password when prompted.

(chroot) $ gsctool -a -P

You can use the CCD command on the Cr50 console to check if the password is set.

cr50 > ccd
       Password: [none|set]


When CCD is Open, you can use gsctool to clear the password:

(dut) $ gsctool -a -P clear:$PASSWORD

Alternatively, you can use the Cr50 console to clear the password and reset CCD capabilities to their default values:

cr50 > ccd reset



Cr50 only enables CCD when it detects a debug accessory is connected (e.g., Suzy-Q or Type-C Servo v4). It detects the cable based on the voltages on the CC lines. If you are flashing the EC and AP or working with unstable hardware, these CC voltages may become unreliable for detecting a debug accessory.

To work around this, you can force Cr50 to always assume that a debug cable is detected:

cr50 > rddkeepalive enable
NOTE: Enabling rddkeepalive does increase power consumption.

To disable:

cr50 > rddkeepalive disable

Updating Cr50

Production (MP) versions of Cr50 firmware use a minor version of 3: 0.3.x. Production firmware versions 0.3.9 or newer support CCD.

Development (PrePVT) versions of Cr50 firmware use a minor version of 4: 0.4.x. Development firmware versions 0.4.9 or newer support CCD.

There aren‘t many differences between the MP and PrePVT versions of images, but it is a little easier to CCD Open PrePVT images. You can’t run PrePVT images on MP devices, so if you're trying to update to PrePVT and it fails try using the MP image.

  1. Flash a test image newer than M66.

  2. Enable Developer Mode and connect a debug cable ([Suzy-Q] or [Type-C Servo v4]).

  3. Check the running Cr50 version with gsctool:

(dut) $ sudo gsctool -a -f

RW 0.4.26  <-- The "RW" version is the one to check
  1. Update Cr50 using the firmware in the OS image:

Production (MP) image:

(dut) $ sudo gsctool -a /opt/google/cr50/firmware/

Development (PrePVT) image:

(dut) $ sudo gsctool -a /opt/google/cr50/firmware/cr50.bin.prepvt
  1. Check the Cr50 version again to make sure it's either 0.3.X or 0.4.X.

Speed up Flashing the AP

In the default AP flashing steps flashrom reads the entire flash contents and only erases and programs the pages that have to be modified. However, when Cr50 controls the SPI bus, it can only run at 1.5 MHz, versus the 50 MHz that the AP normally runs it at.

We can take advantage of the fact that Chrome OS device AP firmware is split into sections, only a few of which are essential for maintaining the device identity and for booting the device in recovery mode to program faster by only reading and writing sections we care about:

# This will save device flash map and VPD sections in
# /tmp/bios.essentials.bin. VPD sections contain information like device
# firmware ID, WiFi calibration, enrollment status, etc. Use the below command
# only if you need to preserve the DUT's identity, no need to run it in case
# the DUT flash is not programmed at all, or you do not care about preserving
# the device identity.
sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP -i FMAP -i RO_VPD -i RW_VPD -r /tmp/bios.essentials.bin

# This command will erase the entire flash chip in one shot, the fastest
# possible way to erase.
sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP -E

# This command will program essential flash sections necessary for the
# Chrome OS device to boot in recovery mode. Note that the SI_ALL section is
# not always present in the flash image, do not include it if it is not in
# dump_fmap output.
sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP -w image-atlas.bin -i FMAP -i WP_RO [-i SI_ALL] --noverify

# This command will restore the previously preserved VPD sections of the
# flash, provided it was saved in the first step above.
sudo flashrom -p raiden_debug_spi:target=AP -w /tmp/bios.essential.bin -i RO_VPD -i RW_VPD --noverify

Once flash is programmed, the device can be booted in recovery mode and start Chrome OS from external storage, following the usual recovery procedure. Once Chrome OS is installed, AP flash can be updated to include the rest of the image by running flashrom or futility from the device bash prompt.