SIMCon

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SIMCon

SIMCon is a program that securely images all files on a GSM SIM Card with a standard PC-SC smart card reader, either Serial or USB. After imaging, the forensic investigator can then analyze the contents of the card. Specific information regarding stored numbers, call history, and text messages are available.

SIMCon's features:

  • Acquire all available files on a SIM Card and store in an archive file
  • Analyze and interpret content of files
  • Recover deleted text messages stored on the card
  • Manage PIN and PUK codes
  • Compatible with SIM Cards and USIM Cards
  • Print reports of evidence
  • Secure file archive using hashing
  • Export items to popular spreadsheet programs
  • Supports international charsets
  • Contains a "content" view for plain text viewing of data, as well as a Hexadecimal view for more specific analysis.


All GSM cell phones today have a subscriber identity module (SIM) to identify the phone onto the network. SIMCon is an application to acquire all of the information from the SIM Card.

The SIM Card provides secure storing of the key identifying a mobile phone service subscriber, subscription information, preferences and text messages. Network state information, such as the current location area identity (LAI), is also stored on the card. When a handset is turned off and then back on, it will search for the LAI that it was in, rather than having to search all frequencies that the phone operates in. This saves time when trying to log on to the network. (Subscriber, 2006, para. 1)

By using SIMCon and a smart card reader, all of the above information and more can be pulled off of the card without knowing the PIN or the PUK of the card. The PIN and the PUK are ways to keep the information on the card secure. They also can be used as a security feature on the phone, not allowing anyone to use a phone to access the SIM Card without knowing the codes.

SIMCon is an application developed by Inside Out Forensics in Norway. It is designed for use by the law enforcement community, and it can be obtained free of charge by emailing SIMCon and identifying the officers and unit. However, for anyone outside the law enforcement community, it is not free.

Review

SIMCon makes the acquisition of data very easy, simply inserting the SIM Card to the appropriate Sim card reader, and clicking acquire is all that is needed to start analyzing evidence. After the acquisition of the data is complete SimCon will show the user a screen with two halves.

On the left panel is the different data sectors of the SIM Card that can either be checked on or off depending on what is needed. After choosing what data sectors are needed, the right panel will be populated with the selected data. Some of the most useful pieces of information that are shown are: the International Mobile Subscriber Identity number, every contacts name and number, and all SMS messages sent and received both stored and deleted.

SIMCon also comes with two more handy features that are key to an investigation and in a court of law. The first is SIMCons' feature that allows the printing of a report. SIMCon will format and populate a report with the contents of the users’ choosing. This can list all the key pieces to an investigation and is an excellent piece of evidence to be used in a court of law. The second feature is the exportation of the acquired data. SIMCon allows the exportation of all SMS messages and also of all contacts. When these exported files are opened in a program such as Microsoft Excel the data can be read, sorted, and analyzed in a format of the users design.

When SMS messages are exported SIMCon automatically adds the following information about every message: file, item, status, service center, message type, number, time stamp, and text. When the contacts are exported SIMCon automatically adds the following information about every contact: file, item, identifier, and number. For reference a report of an acquired SIM card is enclosed as well as a document that tells what information is added into an exported file at the end of this document.

SIMCon is known to have issues while imaging multiple cards in the same session of the program. These issues include the appearance of random characters in both the contacts list and in the SMS. These complications are outlined in a paper which has been uploaded to the file list amd cam be viewed through this web site.

Currently there is no "data-dump" mode in which one can simply dump data exactly as it is on the card in order to have a more pure investigation of the contents. This has proven to be a major setback up to version 1.1, as the automatic parsing of information from the card sometimes leaves certain details unseen, especially in the content view.


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