Retention of data in heat-damaged SIM cards and potential recovery methods

B. J. Jones*, A. J. Kenyon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Examination of various SIM cards and smart card devices indicates that data may be retained in SIM card memory structures even after heating to temperatures up to 450 °C, which the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has determined to be approximately the maximum average sustained temperature at desk height in a house fire. However, in many cases, and certainly for temperatures greater than 450 °C, the SIM card chip has suffered structural or mechanical damage that renders simple probing or rewiring ineffective. Nevertheless, this has not necessarily affected the data, which is stored as charge in floating gates, and alternative methods for directly accessing the stored charge may be applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • SIM card
  • Mobile phone
  • Fire
  • Data recovery
  • Scanning probe microscopy


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  • Microscopy in forensic science

    Jones, B. J., 17 Sep 2019, Springer handbook of microscopy. Hawkes, P. W. & Spence, J. C. H. (eds.). Cham: Springer, p. 1507-1523 17 p. (Springer Handbooks).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    490 Downloads (Pure)

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