OpenPGP smartcard, how vulnerable is it?

Alexandre Dulaunoy adulau at
Wed Aug 15 21:46:31 CEST 2012

On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 8:20 PM, David Tomaschik
<david at> wrote:
> Smartcards (including the one the OpenPGP smartcard is based on) are
> designed to be highly resistant to tampering.  While you can remove
> the chip, you should not be able to read the contents of the chip
> without the PIN.  A highly sophisticated attacker MIGHT be able to get
> to the chip internals and read the memory directly, but at that point,
> you're probably talking about the intelligence agency of a major state
> actor.  (Theoretical attack, I'm not aware of any open papers
> discussing it.)

It's more than a theoretical attack, the Sykipot Malware is proxying
access to the smartcard reader. And by so the attacker is able to
use the functionality of the card without requiring to tamper the card

For a complete analysis of the malware:

I hope this helps.

--                   Alexandre Dulaunoy (adulau) --
--         "Knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance
--                                that we can solve them" Isaac Asimov

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