mrb's blog

104-GPU Cluster Built to Unlock Nokia Phones and Piracy in the GSM Community

Keywords: bruteforcing gpu gsm largescale performance

Companies and hacking teams providing GSM phone unlocking services are building GPU clusters to attack Nokia phones protected with the latest Sim Lock 3, or SL3, mechanism. The picture below shows what is at least a 52-GPU cluster —I count 2 graphics cards per machine— or perhaps 104 GPUs if these are dual-GPU cards. [Update 2011-01-06: Indeed, the position and number of graphics ports in the back match the dual-GPU AMD Radeon HD 5970 card.] It purportedly belongs to a team calling themselves the Griffin Team in the GSM-Forum community.

This community is all abuzz these days because until now SL3 unlocking services could only be purchased from entities running these clusters, but on December 23, 2010 another team, MX-KEY, released a GPGPU tool to accomplish this, effectively enabling individuals with high-end GPUs to unlock small numbers of phones in a matter of hours or days.

(The computing-intensive step in SL3 unlocking consists of finding a 15-digit code such as the SHA-1 hash of this code concatenated with a random number and the IMEI of the phone is equal to a known hash: SHA-1($code.$rnd.$imei) = $hash. This embarrasingly parallel task is perfectly suited to GPUs.)

But there is a twist: the MX-KEY team illegally copied Ivan Golubev's ighashgpu brute forcing tool, modified the executable in an attempt to obfuscate it, and inconspicuously integrated it in their SL3 unlocking suite! Bizarrely they decided to go the trouble of modifying a binary when they seem to have at least basic software skills that would allow them to write a simple SHA-1 brute forcing loop in OpenCL...

Even more bizarrely, when recommending hardware specs for running their tool, the MX-KEY team also copied/pasted word for word the hardware detail list that I documented when building a 4 x AMD Radeon HD 5970 machine (compare theirs and mine):

  • $80 - Chassis Norco RPC-170 1U
  • $140 - PSU Supermicro PWS-562-1H (aka Compuware CPS-5611-3A1LF) 560 Watt 80 PLUS Silver
  • $65 - Mobo Gigabyte GA-P31
  • etc

That, I do not mind. I feel more sorry for Ivan's hard work whose software license is being violated. The GSM unlocking community is both fascinating to me because of the sheer amount of hardware resources being thrown at it, but also seems rampant with piracy.


sirosoft wrote: evry solutions for sl3 is the most populer isue in the gsmcomunity..
mxkey have solutions to brake of expensiv cost for unlocking sl3 nokia phone..and u see they alwys first..

about created by ivan golubevsome talented boy from rusia..

but his soft is just an optimized bruteforcer, and SL3 version it's just the same bruteforcer + salt generator (rnd+imei) integrated inside, like mx-key and cycolne softs, so it can't unlock SL3 phones, it can just bruteforce SHA1 hash !! to do all the unlock work he must integrate custom loaders for each supported hash + FBUS interface to be able to read/decrypt NCK hashs before bruteforce them.
01 Jan 2011 20:41 UTC

Mannycalavera2 wrote: Mastolen sorry manole, always copy from other tools, and say the world he is first, say he will make cheaper all, i feel shame for this guy, i guess he have some children issues, thanks for info 07 Jan 2011 18:01 UTC

Alex wrote: The major problem is ighashgpu is too buggy to be used properly and still with limitation inside.
About 10% of the times the bruteforce gives no result after 4-10 days of computer running with wasting of time and money and you must start the bruteforce again hoping this time the code will be found.
The limits are in the operative system and the big range of use it is done for:
a) Under linux, as with whitepixel, would be enaugh half of the computers actually used in any cluster but ighashgpu is only working with windows
b) An optimized software to bruteforce only SHA1 and using only a 10 char set (01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 00) would be at least 20-30% faster.
People now is investing money in computer for the bruteforce but a better and optimized software would be a great help for this job.
Lets hope someone decides to work on it.

Kindly regards

21 Jan 2011 01:06 UTC

tarjinder wrote: dear sir i want to make a NOKIA BRUTEFORCE SL3 UNLOCKING SYSTEM plz help me 18 Oct 2011 03:22 UTC

dello wrote: hello sir plz i want to work with two pc with two card each one using home network
11 Feb 2012 03:17 UTC

dello wrote: this is my email 11 Feb 2012 03:18 UTC