Real life examples of malware propagated by SIM cards?

TL;DR: For laptops, you should be fine.

  • Networks: no advantages that couldn't be gained more easily though the Ethernet port. Can be fixed by having BIOS password and encrypted drive (not a threat).
  • JavaCard applications: Your computer won't run these. They run on phones and the modem in your laptop likely just issues standard AT commands and doesn't implement the menu / control interface.
  • Access to the operating system: while the SIM card is a computer of its own accord it has a very limited interface (it is a hardware security device) and would just communicate with the modem in the laptop. If someone wanted to be able to hack the modem they would need to find a specific vulnerability in your particular modem. This is getting to new heights of hypothetical and even then your modem is just talking to the operating system though a standard, secure driver.

From my perspective this is a non-realistic scenario, and here is the list of things why I think your case is more a theory issue that a real one.

  1. The information that goes on the sim cards contains, code and a very little amount of memory for store information. Check information about Gemalto for example that is a vendor of sim cards. Also the information is written by the vendor.

  2. A virus on the sim will imply that you will need code multi platform virus, because if you have a Samsung, for example that is ,ARM architecture and linux operating system, your virus should have that code written on the sim card.

  3. The sim card don't have access to the os operating system directly, is like a service if you want to understand. So you will need an extra program that reads the code of the virus and copy to the hosts and execute.

Probably there is more things there. Hope it helps for clarify