Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2015/963

When Organized Crime Applies Academic Results - A Forensic Analysis of an In-Card Listening Device

Houda Ferradi and Rémi Géraud and David Naccache and Assia Tria

Abstract: This paper describes the forensic analysis of what the authors believe to be the most sophisticated smart card fraud encountered to date. In 2010, Murdoch et al. [7] described a man-in-the-middle attack against EMV cards. [7] demonstrated the attack using a general purpose FPGA board, noting that “miniaturization is mostly a mechanical challenge, and well within the expertise of criminal gangs”. This indeed happened in 2011, when about 40 sophisticated card forgeries surfaced in the field. These forgeries are remarkable in that they embed two chips wired top-to-tail. The first chip is clipped from a genuine stolen card. The second chip plays the role of the man-in-the-middle and communicates directly with the point of sale (PoS) terminal. The entire assembly is embedded in the plastic body of yet another stolen card. The forensic analysis relied on X-ray chip imaging, side-channel analysis, protocol analysis, and microscopic optical inspections.

Category / Keywords: applications / EMV, smartcards, man-in-the-middle

Date: received 5 Oct 2015

Contact author: david naccache at ens fr

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20190305:124745 (All versions of this report)

Short URL:

[ Cryptology ePrint archive ]