In this article, we’ll talk about the new cybersecurity concern termed SIM cloning, how and why it can be used against you, and how to prevent your sim card from being cloned.
As the worldwide web matures, online service providers have resorted to using your SIM card as a sort of your online identity, and it’s for a good reason.
Your SIM card is unique to you, and the cellphone number tied to it is yours.
But with advanced SIM cloning and swapping techniques, is your SIM really yours anymore?
What does SIM clone mean?
Cloning simply means duplicating an item or creating an exact copy of it. SIM cloning occurs when a hacker successfully gains access to the mobile number tied to your SIM.
Computer hackers now have SIM cloning techniques and devices, which enables them to create a virtual copy of you. Some network providers are even allegedly aiding and abetting hackers in this task.
If this doesn’t seem scary to you, picture the following circumstance.
Why SIM Cloning might be dangerous
How do you recover a lost Facebook password?
What if your password is lost on Twitter?
The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is mobile number verification. Now, imagine how much of your online accounts can be compromised with someone that can access your SIM.
A hacker can successfully command and control all your online accounts if they can successfully get a copy of your SIM card. They can make calls and send text messages in your name, and they quickly build a bad reputation in your name.
How do they clone your SIM, and how can you prevent this issue?
How does SIM cloning work?
This article isn’t a tutorial on how to clone a SIM, but having a basic knowledge of how the system works will help you understand most of the SIM cloning prevention tips.
Hackers that clone cellphone numbers now do target cloning, as mass penetration testing do not work anymore. Hackers get into the network vicinity of the numbers they plan to hijack and use a special scanning tool to pull important information about the SIM.p
If you’re on a digital GSM system, a cloner will only need access to your IMEI number to be able to create a clone of your SIM.
The scanners used in SIM cloning are painfully expensive and generally unavailable. You’ll need to dig into the deep web, to find a scanner.
Remember, this isn’t a tutorial on how to clone a SIM.
How to prevent your SIM card from being cloned
Only one in a hundred mobile phone users face the issue of SIM cloning. This stat might not seem significant until you multiply it by the billions of phone users worldwide.
While it is previously more rampant, sanctions placed on network providers have forced them to implement strict security policies. Now, SIM cloning is much costlier, and even less effective than it has been.
But it is still possible.
But, when you’re being targeted specifically for a cloning attack, it is almost impossible to prevent it. While there are some prevention tips, you’re not 100% safe. Once you detect an attempt to compromise your SIM, contact your network provider instantly!
However, here are some steps you should take to ensure that your SIM isn’t shared between you and a third party.
Limit information about you online
Apart from using sophisticated scanners, hackers can call your network provider to convince them that they’re actually you. They can present many facts and evidence about you and use it to claim your identity.
They already know your names when you were born, your best pet, even down to your last meal!
Want to learn how to prevent your sim card from being cloned? then limit the information about you online.
You’re making the job easier for them.
To prevent information theft, consider limiting information about yourself online. Add a list of your close friends to share sensitive information with, and hide everything else from the public. This measure will protect you from a SIM clone in the long run.
Beware of apps you install
With new types of malware springing up daily, how sure are you that you haven’t downloaded “Cloneware?”
There are some apps on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, with some embedded malicious code that collects information about your SIM and sends it to the developers.
This information can be used to plan a cloning attack against you, compromising your SIM.
Use very strong Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication over SMS was very effective until hackers started cloning SIMs. Today, more secure 2FA protocols are required for logging into your SIM.
Using an authentication app like Google Duo is better for amateur protection, but you can also protect your SIM by logging in with physical devices.
For example, Yubikey is an authentication system that locks access to an account under a physical. So, to gain access to your SIM on another device, those hackers will have to insert your authenticator into a port on their phones or computer. Pretty secure right?
Do you want to learn how to prevent your sim card from being cloned? then enable 2FA.
Keep your accounts under separate cellphone numbers
Do not keep all your eggs in one basket.
The above statement is especially true for online accounts.
Cloning a phone number in 2020 is a painstaking experience. A hacker will be highly discouraged if they succeeded in hacking the number you don’t actively use, isn’t it?
To prevent losses associated with SIM cloning, you might want to separate the number you use for your financial accounts and those you use for your social media accounts.
Nevertheless, always secure your cellphone number, even if you don’t use it for any online accounts!
SIM card clone is an online attack technique that seems unavoidable when you’re targeted.
But the fact is that it’s actually avoidable.
With the advanced SIM card security hacks discussed in this article, you shouldn’t be a victim of SIM cloning anymore. If you notice any malfunction on your SIM card, however, you shouldn’t hesitate to report.
Now you’ve learned how to prevent your sim card from being cloned.