Since the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are living in an ever increasingly connected world. There is virtually nothing that a smart device cannot do. SIM security has also become an important issue.
Unfortunately, these devices are not infallible and are prime targets for hackers and fraudsters who are looking to commit opportunistic crime. The last thing that you need is for this to happen to you when you are on your dream vacation.
Below is a comprehensive guide into the threat landscape as well as tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Make sure that you use a travel SIM card on your next international vacation.
As pointed out in the introduction, technology has made our lives simpler. We don’t have to go into a bank to carry out a basic transaction like paying for something or transferring money to a beneficiary. This can be done via our mobile devices.
In order to ensure security, banks often send verification requests to mobile customers in the form of one-time-pins. Armed with this, hackers can transact on your behalf.
Do you know what a SIM card is?
Further reading: What is a SIM card & how does it work?
While anyone can be the target of SIM hacking, there are certain groups of people that are common targets of this crime.
It is important to look out for the warning signs that you have be a victim of SIM hacking. It is then important to plan what the next steps are to ensure that you address the threat.
Do you know where the SIM card originated?
Further reading: History of SIM cards.
There are a number of key vulnerabilities that mobile users need to be aware of when it comes to SIM cards.
This complex attack carries out SIM card hacking by sending a piece of spyware-like code to a target device using an SMS message. If a user opens the message, hackers can use the code to spy on their calls and messages—and even track their location.
Another SIM card security issue you may have heard of is SIM card swapping. To perform a SIM card hacking through a SIM card swap, a hacker will first call up your phone provider. They’ll pretend to be you and ask for a replacement SIM card.
They’ll say they want to upgrade to a new device and, therefore, need a new SIM. If they are successful, the phone provider will send them the SIM. Then, they can steal your phone number and link it to their own device.
In a SIM clone attack, the hacker first gains physical access to your SIM card and then creates a copy of the original. The hacker will then take out your SIM from the smartphone. They do this with the help of a smart card copying software, which copies the unique identifier number (assigned to you) onto their blank SIM card. The hacker will then insert the newly copied SIM card into their smartphone.
Have you considered using a travel SIM card?
Further reading: What is a travel SIM card? (2022 international travellers guide).
There are a number of steps that one can take to prevent being a victim of SIM swapping fraud.
SIM cards come in all shapes and sizes.
Further Reading: SIM card sizes, dimensions & types (2022 User guide).
Unfortunately, no stand-alone method exists for users to stop SIM card attacks. It is the duty of mobile carriers to ensure their customers’ security. Above all, they should avoid using outdated SIM menu apps, as well as block SMS code containing dangerous commands.
But there’s some good news. There are some ways that you can prevent a simjacking attack:
Did you know that you have an identifiable number that registers you on the mobile network you are using?
Further reading: What is an IMSI number (2022 Technical guide).
The word cloning means to duplicate. As such, SIM cloning is the process in which a legitimate SIM card is duplicated. It means creating another SIM card with the exact same information as the original.
For the most part, physical access is key to SIM cloning. That means, that a SIM card can be cloned if you allow a 3rd party to get their hands on your SIM card. Duplicating a SIM card remotely is difficult, costly, and so is not common.
To protect your SIM card from being cloned, don’t let others get their hands on it. For example, if you are sending in your smartphone for repairs.
Secondly, enable a PIN on your card. If you have a security PIN active on your card, the process of duplicating it cannot be completed without the hacker entering that PIN.
What data is stored on a SIM card?
Further reading: What data is stored on a SIM card (2022 Technical guide).
5 Tips to prevent SIM Jacking
There are five important steps that you can take to prevent SIM jacking.
Have you ever wondered if your SIM card a unique, identifiable number?
Further reading: What is a ICCID number & why it’s important.
SIM security is important. A WIBattack is a new form of SIM attacks that aims to gain access to a users SIM card.
There are two main ways that a user can increase their safety to these attaks.
There are two ways to look at this problem, one is from the perspective of the network operator. The other is the perspective of the end-user.
For network operators, it is essential to deploy relevant solutions to tackle this problem. Some of the solutions may include, replacing the vulnerable sim-cards to give the end-user 100% security. Another solution that might be worth looking into is filtering OTA SMS’s.
As far as the subscriber is concerned, if the sim-card that the subscriber is using is vulnerable. The best thing to do is to replace the sim-card and invest in a few bucks to ensure 100% security, it’s because if you go roaming to other networks, your network provider won’t be able to ensure your security.
There are a number of ways to tell whether your SIM card has been hacked.
There are a number of important steps that you can take once you are aware that your phone has been hacked:
Armed with the information in this article, you should be able to identify a threat and respond appropriately.