You can’t believe how easily your SIM card can be hacked! Hackers basically take advantage of security loopholes in our SIM cards and the infrastructure. Rather than using security vulnerabilities, they also use trickery and social engineering to hack your SIM card. By just replicating your SIM card, hackers have access to all of your phone calls, and messages. This includes two-factor authentication requests over calls and SMS, OTPs for bank transactions, and can even achieve access to your WhatsApp account and basically, everything which is linked to your phone number!
When your phone number aka your SIM gets hacked, most probably your SIM card will stop working. You know what that means, now you’ve kicked off the access of all your bank accounts – you can’t get SMS, lose access to social media, and so on. Just think of how outrageous the situation would be. Here, we’ll discuss some ways hackers use SIM to gain access to SIM Cards — and how you can keep your SIM card safe.
Using Call Forwarding
What scammers basically do is, they just call you and pretend that they are from the service provider. They somehow convince you to dial some numbers. If you dial something like *401*<10 digit number> for JIO India – all of your calls will then send to the forwarded number. Using this trick, scammers have access to all of your OTPs coming through calls. As in most scenarios, there is an option to get OTP via calls they will have access to your bank accounts and social media accounts. So, don’t dial anything by just hearing someone on call.
Sometimes scammers personally come to you and ask for help pretending that him/her phone is dead and want to call someone. To help him/her you may give your phone. Right? Don’t do that. Ask him/her about the number and you dial that number. Don’t let anyone dial a number on your phone. Even while he/she is calling take care of your phone so that they can’t dial something on your phone. Maybe their intention is to just somehow trick you and want to turn on call forwarding – who knows?
This hacking method is performed via SMS. Hackers send an SMS to your phone, and if you open the SMS, your SIM card will be hacked. Hackers have access to spy on your calls and messages and even track your location. If you’re an iPhone user and think you’re safe – you are actually wrong as both iPhone and Android users are simultaneously vulnerable to SIMJACKER. Even embedded SIM card users aka eSIM users simultaneously can get affected. During the attack, the user is completely unaware that they received the attack and this makes it much more dangerous. However, this technique is mostly used by government agencies for their purposes but who knows if someone gets access to this technique and misused it to exploit common people.
SIM Card Swapping
In this technique, hackers use trickery and social engineering. They basically convince the SIM provider that they are you. They provide all the documentations which proves that they are you and they provide the unique code known as ICC-ID written on the SIM card. How can they collect your documentation? It doesn’t matter; they have sources. How do they get the ICC-ID? That’s probably your mistake. Maybe you gave your SIM card to someone or maybe you have repaired your phone from a repair shop – you gave your SIM with that phone, or using social engineering they have somehow convinced you to provide the ICC-ID by telling something like: your SIM is defective, They will increase your internet speed or something similar.
With all of these data if they somehow manage to believe the representative of the SIM provider then they get the new SIM with your number and your SIM will be deactivated. Now all the phone calls and SMSs will come into the scammer’s phone. They not only have access to your OTPs over SMS and phone calls but also all of your social media accounts, emails, and everything. You may not even know you’re a target until it’s too late.
How to stop SIM Card Swapping?
Actually, it’s pretty hard to stop SIM Swapping because you don’t know how they gather your personal information. What you can do is, don’t physically give your personal details and documentation to everyone, don’t share your information on unknown websites, don’t click up unknown links, and lastly don’t give anyone to the ICC-ID over call. Most importantly don’t make available your personal details on social media. Always set your personal details only for friends.
Keep in mind, SIM cloning is completely different than SIM swapping. In this method, scammers actually need your SIM and copy its data aka unique identifier number to another blank SIM. For this, they actually use smart card copying software, which copies the unique identifier number—assigned to you on your SIM card. Now the hackers will insert the newly copied SIM card into their smartphone and done.
The interesting thing about SIM cloning is you no longer understand that your SIM is cloned. All the SMS phone calls that come to your number can be received from both SIM Cards. It is possible to call or send SMS through cloned and original SIM Cards.
This means they also have access to your two-factor authentication codes, Bank OTPs, social media accounts, email addresses, and whatever you can think of can be linked with your phone number.
How to Understand, Your SIM Card is Cloned?
There are not much of ways to understand that your SIM Card is Cloned but you can understand if you suddenly noticed suspicious behavior on your SIM Card. You may receive unexpected calls or text messages you don’t know about. Spam messages and Popups are coming frequently. Sudden increase of call drops and most importantly if you have seen unexpected charges on your phone bill or as a prepaid user your phone balance is dropping quite soon then probably your SIM card is cloned. You have to be aware of the SIM operator of your problems and say that you’re expecting your SIM is already cloned. Also keep in mind, if you are noticing that your phone is not getting network for a long time or uncertainty on receiving network then it is also possible that your SIM is cloned.
In the Concluding Lines…
So, these are the common ways that hackers and scammers use to hack your SIM. In most cases, you can save yourself from these disasters. By cloning or Swapping your SIM, they can perform so many different cyber crimes which are not good for your reputation. It is possible that legal action can be taken against you. So, if you notice any suspicious activity on your phone number, tell the operator about your problem and make an FIR to be on the safe side. So that being said hope you guys have enjoyed this article and learned something new. If so then don’t forget to express your thoughts in the comments below thanks for visiting.