Speaker Deck

The Secret Life of SIM Cards

by Eric Butler

Published August 2, 2013 in Technology

Eric Butler and Karl Koscher
http://simhacks.github.io/

SIM cards can do more than just authenticate your phone with your carrier. Small apps can be installed and run directly on the SIM separate from and without knowledge of the phone OS. Although SIM Applications are common in many parts of the world, they are mostly unknown in the U.S. and the closed nature of the ecosystem makes it difficult for hobbyists to find information and experiment.

This talk, based on our experience building SIM apps for the Toorcamp GSM network, explains what (U)SIM Toolkit Applications are, how they work, and how to develop them. We will explain the various pieces of technology involved, including the Java Card standard, which lets you write smart card applications using a subset of Java, and the GlobalPlatform standard, which is used to load and manage applications on a card. We will also talk about how these applications can be silently loaded, updated, and interacted with remotely over-the-air.

Presented at DEF CON 21, August 2nd 2013.

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