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What is SIM CARD Cloning.

In today’s busy era cellphones are one of our daily tech gadgets. We exchange lots of calls between one cellphone to another, as it is a most popular gadget to stay in communication with each other. But in recent times this gadget has been used to stole banking passwords, personal information and credit card details by cloning original SIM card. Since many mobile subscribers used their cellphones to retrieve One Time Password(OTP) and to protect banking credentials, so this opens a way for cloning software to retrieve all these information by cloning SIM card without the consent of the mobile subscriber.

In simple words we can define Sim Card cloning as “It is the process of cloning a original SIM card to create another duplicate SIM card without the knowledge of an individual mobile subscriber(which is illegal)“.

Note:  In India our IT and Telegraph Law has no specific provision for this so called “Sim Card Cloning” fraud, so be vigilant and try not to answer any unknown number with unusual random digits. It might clone your SIM card in few seconds.

Even few states in India mainly Delhi, Punjab has registered many SIM fraud cases in recent times. Our reputed telecom companies has also stated that many subscribers looses their privacy and money due to this technical fraud. However, telecom companies are working on other technical alternatives to curb this technical fraud to protect millions of subscribers in India.

Simcard cloning by CYBRAIN INFOSEC

How SIM card is cloned

Our cellphones are working on two network such as: GSM and CDMA. Both these network offers good call quality and other technical features which separates both network from each other. However CDMA network are more vulnerable to sim cloning than GSM network. In CDMA(code division multiple access) mobile phones cloning is achieved by changing the Electronic Serial Number(ESN) with the help of special software’s. The Electronic Serial Number(ESN) is usually transmitted to the telecom company to authenticate any cellphone/device onto the network. By modifying Electronic Serial Number (ESN),Preferred Roaming List(PRL) and Mobile Identification Number, any fraudster can make fraud calls to raise original subscriber mobile bills.

While on the other hand in Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) mobile phones contains International mobile station equipment identity(IMEI) number instead of ESN number, which means fraudster have to get IMEI number to clone original sim card to create duplicate one. But this process is very typical on GSM mobile phones as this is a rare procedure to be followed by fraudster’s.

A GSM Sim card is copied by placing a device(special device) between the handset and SIM card which  allowed device to be operational for few days to copy its contents/secret code. This process takes time to copy original GSM Sim Card to create duplicate one.

How to know if my SIM card is cloned:

A duplicate/cloned SIM card can be used for robbery, ransom or terror activities. So every mobile subscriber need to be vigilant for his/her cellphones usage activities. There are few conditions in which one can know whether his/her cellphone is cloned or not such as:

  1. Frequent cross connections and wrong numbers.
  2. Too many Unknown numbers in telephone bill.
  3. Receiving busy signal when you are not on call.
  4. Experiencing slowness in accessing mobile banking and emails(even on 3G/4G network).

What to do if my SIM card is cloned:

If you are facing any issue regarding SIM card cloning, then contact your telecom operator and nearest police station to register your complaint.

Note: Globally, European Union has made it compulsory to use those SIM cards which cannot be cloned. Such SIM card includes higher tier of encryption than traditional SIM cards and is very expensive than others.

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Ankush Gaikwad

Software/web/App Developer and Cyber Security Investigator

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