Understanding JCOP: memory dump

Some time ago I was struggling with JCOP smart card. The one I received as it turned out was not pre-personalized, which means some interesting features (like setting encryption keys and PIN) was still unlocked. Because documentation and all the usual helpers (StackOverflow) were not very useful (well, ok, there was no publicly available documentation at all), I started very deep search on Google, which finished with full success. I was able to make dump of whole memory available during pre-personalization.

Since it is not something that could be found online, here you have screenshot of it, colored a bit with help of my hdcb program. Without documentation it might not be very useful, but in some emergency situation, maybe somebody will need it.

JCOP memory dump made at the very beginning of pre-personalization

Small explanation: first address, I was able to read was 0xC000F0, first address with read error after configuration area was 0xC09600. I know that, despite of lack of privileges some data is placed there.

There are three configurations: cold start (0xc00123-0xc00145), warm start (0xc00146-0xc00168) and contactless (0xc00169-at least 0xc0016f). Description of coding of the individual fields is outside of the scope of this article. I hope, I will describe them in future.

Next time, I will try to describe the process of pre-personalization, that is making not pre-personalized card, easy to get from usual sources of cheap electronics, able to receive and run applets.

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HDCB – new way of analysing binary files under Linux

As any observer of my projects spotted, most of the biggest projects I do involves binary file analysis. Currently I am working on another one that requires such analysis.
Unfortunately such analysis is not an easy task and anything that will ease this or speed it up is appreciated. Of course there are some tools that will make it a bit easier. One of them is hexdump. Even IDA Pro can make it easier a bit. Despite them I always felt that something is missing here. When creating xSDM and delz utils, I was using hexdump output with LibreOffice document to mark different structure members with different colors. It worked, but selecting 100-byte buffer line by line was just wasting precious time.

SDC file analyzed by HDCB script


So why not automate whole process? What we really need here is just hexdump output and terminal emulator with color support. And that’s why I’ve made HDCB – HexDump Coloring Book. Basically it is just extension to bash scripting language. Goal was to create simple script that will hide as much of its internals from end-user and allow user to just start it will his shell using old good ./scriptname.ext and that’s it. HDCB is masked as if it was standalone scripting language. It uses shebang, known from bash or python scripts to let user shell know what interpreter to use (#!/usr/bin/env hdcb). Those who are python programmers should recognize usage of env binary.

In fact it is just simple extension to bash language, so users are still able to utilize any features available in bash. Main extensions are two commands: one (define) for defining variables and the other (use) for defining field or array of that defined type. Such scripts should be started with just one argument – file that is meant to be hexdumped and analyzed.


Bash scripts are just some kind of a cover of real program. Main core of the program is colour utility. It gets unlimited number of parameters grouped in groups of four. They are in order: offset of byte being colored, length of the field, background and foreground colors. As standard input, hexdump output (in fact only hexdump -C or hexdump -Cv are supported) is provided. Program colors the hexdump with rules provided as arguments. This architecture allows clever hacker to build that cover mentioned in virtually any programming language.

Downloads, documentation and more

As usual, program is available on my Github profile. Sources are provided on GPLv3 license so you are free to contribute to the project and you are strongly encouraged to do so or make proposals of a new functions. Program is meant to be expanded according to my future needs, but I will try to implement any good idea. Whole documentation, installation instructions and the like are also available on Github.

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SDC file format description – Errata

Last year, I published a program for Microsoft Dreamspark’s SDC file decryption. Soon after that I wrote article about SDC file format and its analysis. Now it’s time to complete the description with newest data.

This article wouldn’t be written if not the contribution of GitHub’s user @halorhhr who spotted multi-file SDC container and let me know on project’s page. Thanks!

When writing that post year ago, I had no idea what multi-file container really looks like. Any suspicions could not then be confirmed, because it seemed that these files simply where not used in the wild. A days ago situation changed. I got a working sample of multi-file container so I was able to start its analysis.

Real container format


SDC files with different signatures

After quick analysis, I knew that I was wrong with my suspicions. Filename length and encrypted filename strings are not part of a file description. In fact they are placed after them and filename is concatenated string of all filenames (including trailing null-byte). So to sum up filename of n-th element starts at file[n].filename_offset and ends just like any other c-style string.

Whole header structure is like on the sample header on the right. Note that all headers beside 0xb3 one has been already decrypted for readability. In real header the only unencrypted field is header size at the very beginning of the file. 0xb3 sample has unencrypted header and header size is not present in a file. However file name is encrypted in some way, I haven’t figured out as of now. Encryption method is blowfish-compat (the difference between this and blowfish is ciphertext endiannes). Filenames are encrypted once again.

After header, all other data is XORed using key from EDV string and then deflated, so before reading them, you have to inflate and XOR again. Format of data in 0xb3 version is still unknown, however analysis of compressed and file size hints that it may be stored the same way. It is important to note that depending on file signature different configuration of deflater may be needed. It is now known that files older than 0xd1 header, which appears to be newest (because only this one supports files greater than 4 GiB) need to have deflater initialized with


or equivalent.


This errata does not contain all information needed to support all variations of SDC files. Beside unknowns I mentioned above, there is another variation that uses 0xc4 signature and which I had no sample of. The only trace of its existence is condition in SDM code. Because of that I cannot write support for that type of file. There is also possibility of multi-file containers having 0xb5 or 0xb3 signatures existence. That type of files seems to appear only lately, but it is probable that it existed in the past. Because of having no samples of them I cannot verify that xSDM properly handles them.

So if you have sample of any of variations mentioned here, just send them to me at my email address: v3l0c1r4pt0r at gmail dot com or if you suppose it may be illegal in your country, just send me SDX link or any other hint for me how can I find them.

Other way?

Few days ago, after I started writing this post Github user @adiantek let me know in issues that there is a method to obey SDM in Dreamspark download process. To download plain, unencrypted file you just have to replace ‘dfc=1‘ to ‘sdm=0‘ in a link Dreamspark provided in SDX file. If it true that it works in every file Dreamspark provides, my xSDM project would be obsolete now. However, because Microsoft’s intentions when creating this backdoor (it seems to be created just for debugging) are unknown, I will continue to support the project and fix any future bugs I will be aware of. But now it seems that this project will start to be just proof of concept for curious hackers and will start to slowly die.

Nevertheless, if you have something that might help me or anyone who may be interested in SDC format in future, just let me know somehow, so it will be available somewhere on the internet.

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Decoding Aztec code from polish vehicle registration certificate

About a year ago I interested in mysterious 2D code placed in my car’s registration certificate. After quick research on Google it turned out to be even more mysterious because nobody knew how to decode it. There was even no official document like act or regulation that describes the code somehow. People knew that the code is Aztec code and that’s it. Some companies shared web and Android apps to decode this. And all of them was sending base64 to some server and receive decoded data.

Of course for me it wasn’t rewarding so I started my research on it. After initially scanning the code I’ve seen long string that I immediately recognized as base64. The real fun started after that, because stream I’ve got after that was so strange that at first I had no idea what to do. Upon closer examination it was clear that this data is not damaged but encoded in somewhat strange way. Few days later I was almost sure that this is not encoding but rather compression, because some unique parts of stream was easily readable by human. About a month of learning about compression, looking for even most exotic decompression tools and I was left with almost nothing. I had only weak guess on how decompression parameters could be encoded. I gave up…

Polish vehicle registration certificate (source: pwpw.pl)

Polish vehicle registration certificate (source: pwpw.pl)

About a year later I tried one more time. This time I was a bit more lucky. I found a program that decodes the code. Again. But this time was different. I shut down my network connection to make sure. And it worked! So now a bit of reverse engineering and it’s done. I will skip any details because I do not want to piss off the company which created this, even though I was right and I HAD right to do this.

As usual the source code is available on my Github profile. There is also a bit more information about whole scanning/decoding process. If you like to know more technical details about the algorithm or how to decode the data, everything can be found in README file in the repo.

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SDC file format description and security analysis of SDM

As promised in my previous post I’m publishing description of Microsoft’s SDC file format. At the beginning I’d like to explain what SDC file is. SDC is the abbreviation of Secure Download Cabinet/Secure Digital Container. It is used by Microsoft in its Dreamspark program (formerly MSDNAA). Theoretically it is secure container that can be sent using Internet without additional encryption and it should prevent its content from being read by any third party. But that’s theory, let’s look at how it works in practice.


Firstly let’s look at the packing process. Let’s say we are in Microsoft and we want to “secure” some data. We got some file (or possibly few files) ie. Windows ISO. Next we generate some random number and write it down somewhere. Now we use least significant byte of that number to do XOR on EVERY single byte of that file. Now it may be considered secure 🙂 But some day Microsoft realized it isn’t enough. So what did they do? They used deflate (it is compression method used ie. in zip, gzip). Actually there are two versions of the deflate: one with all headers necessary to realize method of compression by using a tool like binwalk and the other that haven’t any header. Now it is time to combine all the files we have in one. Of course we still need to know some information about them (ie. their size before/after compression, file name). After concatenation we need to count CRC of all the data we have as of now. And finally we need to build a file header. At first we need to write header size. Then starts actual header. It is important because here starts region that will be encrypted. Here is some info about the header itself and then about each file. It is possibly padded with random data (don’t know for sure). Now we need two random 32-byte keys consisting of printable characters. We use first to encrypt filenames and the second to encrypt whole header (beside its size). Finally we concatenate header with the rest and here we have SDC file.

Header format

Sample header

Sample header

So, we have basic overview on the format, now let’s look at the details. You think it isn’t secure, huh? It would be worse. On the right you can see example header after decryption. First four bytes determine size of the header counting from the next byte. After that we have area encrypted using Blowfish (sometimes referred blowfish-compat) with ECB mode (Electronic CodeBook) using the key stored in edv variable of webpage linked from SDX file. In that area we have 3 dwords describing the header itself. First is header signature. It can be one of the following values: 0xb4, 0xb5, 0xc4, 0xd1. All I know now is that the one with sig = 0xd1 can store files larger than 4 GiB. The next value is interesting one. It looks like it is used to “encrypt” file name in memory so that the static analysis would result in “not found”. As in other cases it is “very advanced encryption”, the same situation as with the whole file: get all the buffer, iterate through it and XOR with the value’s LSB. I have to admit that this one is even does the job. Now we have something called header size. Actually it is probably number of files packed in the container. While reversing I concluded that SDM iterates from 0 to that number, and while this it is reading 0x38 bytes from file. Next it is probably reading fileNameLength and fileName, so whole header must be in format:


and so on until we reach headerSize. Then we have a lot of values not necessary to unpack the file. First of them is offset of file name. While its value is usually 0 (at least in newer headers with blowfish encryption) it is still probably possible to encounter a file with this value greater than zero. If that happened the first thing to do is probably decrypt filename and then move pointer this amount of bytes right. Next value describes file attributes. In fact I didn’t bother about what bit means what attribute, but I suppose it is the same map as in FAT (see my libfatdino library). The next three values are timestamps (creation, access and modification). They all are in Windows 64-bit format called “file time” used for instance by .NET Framework’s DateTime class (DateTime.FromFileTime method; they are number of 100-nanosecond ticks that elapsed since epoch at 1st January 1601 midnight and I suppose that this value is unsigned). That format is very interesting in comparison with another approach of saving date on 64-bit value used on Linux. UNIX timestamp traditionally uses 1st January of 1970 as its epoch and there is usually signed value in use. It isn’t as precise as Windows (counts only seconds) but its end is about 300 billion (10^9) years in future and since it is signed, in past too. Comparing to that Windows’ date will wrap about year 60000 A.C. and cannot store any date before 1601. I know that is still unreachable (like 4 billion computers in 80’s 🙂 but good to know:) After that we have size of the compressed file (be beware of the difference between 64-bit variant and 32-bit one). When we have container with only one file the equation

compressedSize + headerSize + 4 == sdcSize

should always be true. The next one is uncompressed size of the file which can be used to check if the file has been downloaded entirely. After that there is boolean that indicates if file is inflated (compressed), another one-byte value that is probably reserved for future use, one-word padding, which is also interesting because it looks like it contains random numbers (really?). And after that more padding (this time empty) after which we have size of the file name. It may be a bit tricky because the size we have here is the size AFTER decryption and blowfish demands its output to have length divisible by 8. So to decrypt it we need to count next divisor of 8. File name is encrypted using the same method as the header itself and the second key from edv.

Decryption key

Now something more about the keystring (edv). Its format is:



  • <crc> is a checksum of whole data area of a file (everything beside header size and header)
  • <fileNameKey> is the key used to encrypt file names
  • <headerKey> is the key used to encrypt whole header
  • <xorKey> is the key used to “encrypt” the files

Security of the whole program

People who are familiar with security should already know how insecure is the SDM. For others I have short description.

  1. At first the files itself AREN’T ENCRYPTED in any way. They are only XORed using one byte long key. XOR itself is very weak protection, even with extremely long key. It is due to the fact that many file formats have some of their bytes predictable (this concerns EXEs, ISOs and ZIPs and these are the formats most frequent on Dreamspark). That predictable bytes are usually the beginnings (headers) which usually have so called magic bytes to easily identify file format. So when we know what byte we expect we could try to XOR that byte with actual byte and it is very probable that we get the “encryption” key.
  2. Deflate which is used to hide this patterns from the end user is just compression method. We don’t need anything special to decompress this data.
  3. ECB which is used as blowfish encryption mode is the most insecure mode of block ciphers. It can cause some parts of data to be revealed without actual decryption (see: Wikipedia).
  4. All the data SDM downloads/sends from/to Microsoft’s servers are UNENCRYPTED. Everything: request from the user, SDC itself and decryption keys are all plaintext so with knowledge how SDC looks we can decrypt the file even when it is not intended for us, but we are only in the middle of its road. Furthermore malicious node is able to modify the file on the fly and i.e. put a backdoor into the file, for instance Windows image.


For all the above reasons Secure Download Manager cannot be called a software for securely downloading the files from Microsoft’s servers. All the users using this are the same way INSECURE as users downloading i.e. their copy of Windows from warez sites. Both are susceptible to MITM attacks.

So we still don’t know the answer: why Microsoft is using dedicated software to share their software. The only answer I have is that it is just for making user’s not using Microsoft’s operating system life difficult. In place of decision-making people like the ones in European Commission I would think if this policy is not intended to be only to keep Microsoft’s monopoly for operating system.

Update 20.07.2014

Description updated thanks to GMMan and his great work on reverse engineering the whole program. He also reminded me about older variants of SDC files. I have currently sample(s) of files with 0xb3, 0xb5 and 0xd1 signatures. I know at the moment that there are also signatures 0xa9, 0xb2, 0xb4, 0xc4 and it is possible that they still are reachable through Dreamspark. It is also likely that Microsoft (or Kivuto on Microsoft’s order) will create new format so if you have a sample of file with different header, please let me know in comments!

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How to bypass Secure Download Manager while downloading from Dreamspark

About a month or so ago I had an urgent need to download a copy of Microsoft Windows from Dreamspark. Unfortunately I haven’t Windows installed then so had to do this using Linux. After successful transaction I was given a link to SDX file and program called SDM. It looked that it would be easy. But it wasn’t. Program that I was encouraged to download was archive with .pkg extension. As I discovered few minutes later it was OS X application package. So the next step was to try to download Windows version and try to execute it with help of Wine. It failed. Then I tried to find some tips on the Net. I found a few other people having the same problem. Some of them could download using Wine and some not. For me there was only one solution: do it myself. As you probably guessed that way was a (almost) full success.


If you already have SDC file please do not skip since you probably still don’t have a key needed to unpack the file. The first step is to open SDX file in your favorite text editor. You will see a link. Open it in a web browser. Now you need to get to page source. The way it can be done depends on your web browser. Now we need to find few strange values in the code. The easiest way to achieve this is to search for keyword ‘edv*’ where * is the number of file you want to download counting from 1 (they are on ‘Items’ list on page you opened). Now you need to copy somewhere values of the following variables: ‘oiopu*’, ‘oiop*’, ‘fileID*’ (*-see above). The last one we need is ‘dlSelect*’ but for that one you need to search cause it is in a different place. Now you can build URL that will let you to file containing two interesting values: file URL and decryption string. This URL’s format is:


Now you should see XML file that looks similar to this:


The last step here will be downloading file from fileUrl and saving edv value in file. The important thing is that the file with a key should be named exactly as SDC file with addition of ‘.key’ suffix.


I’ve just discovered that things are getting a bit different when the file size exceeds 2.0 GB. In that case Dreamspark is splitting file in two or more files. That situation could be easily recognized, because sdc file name’s suffix is: ‘.01.sdc’. In that case you need to try to download file which URL differs by only that one digit, ie. ‘.01.sdc’, ‘.02.sdc’, ‘.03.sdc’. When you encounter last file it should have smaller size than the rest and incrementing that number by one should give you BlobNotFound error.

After downloading all the files they just need to be joined into one. It can be easily achieved with dd, ie.

dd if=pl_windows_7_professional_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_676944.02.sdc >> pl_windows_7_professional_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_676944.01.sdc

and then optionally

dd if=pl_windows_7_professional_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_676944.03.sdc >> pl_windows_7_professional_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_676944.01.sdc

After that you will get sdc file prepared to unpack.

Unpacking SDC

Now since you have SDC file you can start unpacking it. The previous part was, at least for me, very easy. The problem started when I tried to discover how the file is stored in that container. But don’t worry, I’ve written simple program to do it for you. As of now (1st June) it is still in really early alpha stage and have lot of constraints. It is able to unpack containers that contains only one file packed, doesn’t create any directories, cannot verify file’s checksum and probably few other problems I don’t remember or don’t know about.

If you were searching a bit in the Internet, you probably found out that someone cracked that container in the past. Unfortunately Microsoft changed format since then. It is also possible that in response to this article it will be changed again. To make it a bit harder for them to block my software I’m publishing source code on github and after the process of reverse engineering is finished will write second article describing how things works under the hood and describe sdc file format.

But let’s get back to unpacking. Now you need to download xSDM from github. The newest version can be downloaded by typing

git clone https://github.com/v3l0c1r4pt0r/xSDM.git

in your terminal (of course you need to have git installed). Nevertheless I advice you to download newest tagged release. You can do this by clicking on releases on project page and then choosing the one on the top (or first beta/stable if any) and clicking on “tar.gz”. tar.gz can be unpacked by typing

tar -zxvf xSDM-[tag-name].tar.gz

into console. Then get into xSDM directory by typing

cd xSDM

(or your release directory) and compile the program by standard

make install

where installation is optional. Now to unpack your file you just need to type

src/xsdm [path-to-your-sdc-file]

And that’s it, you should now be able to open file you downloaded. As mentioned above the program is in very early alpha so I cannot guarantee that it will work in any case. If you will encounter any problems feel free to open issue on project page at github.

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