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GPS chip forensics  

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kovar
(@kovar)
Senior Member

Good morning,

I am looking for articles and other information on extracting useful data from GPS chips themselves rather than the unit they are part of. What information remains on the chip when power is removed, if any, and how best to extract it?

Thank you.

-David

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Posted : 19/10/2019 12:48 pm
athulin
(@athulin)
Community Legend

I am looking for articles and other information on extracting useful data from GPS chips themselves rather than the unit they are part of. What information remains on the chip when power is removed, if any, and how best to extract it?

I'd look for system development guides, design guides (these may go into security aspects), chip reference manuals or protocol specifications by the companies developing these chips. They are almost always part of evaluation kits – but they usually come at a price. Some documentation may be possible to download, perhaps after registering as a developer.

The hardware specification should tell you what types of memory are present, and protocol specifications may tell you what kind of data can be retrieved and possibly even if any of that is retained over a power cycle (i.e. there's a pin for battery power somewhere), and perhaps even what happens if the device operates outside recommended ranges of temperature, moisture, etc.

Protocol specifications would probably tell you what kind of data the boxes contain, and which might be retained depending on system and system software design on soft or other resets (hot/warm/cold/factory). (For example, I find in one of Furunos manuals that "The data which is stored by FLASHBACKUP command in Flash is not cleared even if FACTORY restart is occurred" … )

Evaluation kits may come with special software that can do things not usually available – and that may provide further ideas.

I'd be wary about articles, unless the author can show at least a few years of hardware system design experience with the chip in question.

Best source of information would be to sit down with a software designer from the manufacturer for a day or so. And just possibly verify things with a hardware designer, just in case …

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Posted : 19/10/2019 4:43 pm
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