SIM Reader Frequently Asked Questions
I'm getting the error ord() expected a character, but string of length 0 found ?

There error indicates that the software couldn't read the SIM card. There are a few reasons why this is

  1. You have the wrong COM port selected (make sure you have this right)
  2. Your serial cable is damaged or is the wrong kind (say its a null modem cable, which is not correct)
  3. You have a soldering error in any part of the kit (go over your kit)
  4. The SIM holder is on backwards (check the photos carefully)
  5. The SIM is damaged (test it with a phone to see if its a working SIM)
  6. The SIM is not compatible with being read for some reason (unlikely)
Is this a PC/SC-compatible SIM card interface?
Is this a Phoenix-compatible SIM card interface?

This design uses a serial port to read and write data from a SIM. Often these are referred to as "phoenix"-type readers. PC/SC readers use a different (Windows-only) standard, and this reader design will not work with software or hardware that requires PC/SC compatibility

Will this reader/software be able to recover all the data from my phone?

The reader and software looks in the default locations that cell phones use to store SMS and phonebook data - just like the professional forensics software. Some phones do not store any data on SIM cards, instead using their internal memory, and some do a good job of overwriting the data when it is erased. Thus it is not guaranteed that a particular message or phonebook entry will be accessable - it depends a lot on the phone used!

However, I've found that the last-numbers-dialed information is always available, even for the most recent phones.

Can I write to a SIM card?

This kit can write to the writable parts of a SIM. For example you can save/restore SMS messages and phonebook entries. However, you cannot write to -all- of a SIM, for example the PIN, serial number and encryption key data. To write that data to a card you will need a special SIM called a "silver card" (or similar).

Can I read from the SIM if it is locked with a PIN?

This reader cannot crack a SIM PIN (4 digit code for locking a phone). To read and write data, the PIN is required. After 3-10 attempts, the SIM may disable itself to protect the data.

Is it possible to clone a SIM card with this reader?

Cloning a SIM card requires reading the IMSI and Ki from the old SIM and writing it to a writable-SIM. Getting the IMSI is easy, but extracting the Ki is (currently) only possible from COMP128v1-based cards. These cards are no longer made, but some older cards still use that encryption method.

If your card uses COMP128v2 or v3, as many do, it is not possible to extract the Ki.

Could I damage my SIM?

Reading and writing SMS/phonebook data is quite safe and should not damage the card. However, attempting to crack the Ki could disable the card: some SIMs have a limit on how many plaintext-encryption requests they will handle. Cracking the Ki from a card is done at your own risk!

May 17, 2011 20:07