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Blog

New board: 'itemv', a smartcard analysis tool

Saar Drimer

Some of you may already know that during my PhD I had a side interest in demonstrating vulnerabilities of the EMV Chip and PIN payment system, together with colleagues from the Security Group of the Computer Lab. The discoveries and demonstrations we've made helped a great deal of people who were left to their own devices against banks who wouldn't refund them the money that was stolen from them, claiming that Chip and PIN is more secure than it really is. 

Anyhow, during our investigations an analysis tool created by my former PhD supervisor Markus Kuhn, was a great help. Markus designed and manufactured a card, pictured below, to both emulate a smartcard and sniff data going to and from a card and a reader. 





Markus' board is thirteen years old, and my colleague Steven Murdoch asked me to design a new card that had soldermask and gold plated contacts. I put my own touch to the layout, and this is the result:
 




In the spare space, I've included in silkscreen useful information such as common commands and their meaning. Hopefully, this will save time to users by not requiring them to wade through the thousands of pages of the EMV spec with every frame.

Now I'm gathering quotes for a 0.8 mm board with selective gold plating. Anyone has recommendation for a PCB house that can do that cheaply?

[UPDATE: 'itemv' was manufactured!]