What is SIM Jacking and what can you do to protect yourself?

If you’re unfamiliar with “sim-jacking” as a term, it’s a relatively new crime on the rise. SIM jacking happens when a criminal gains access to your cell phone number and then uses your SIM card to make calls, text, and use data. This can result in expensive phone bills and a lot of headaches for the victim.

So, what is SIM jacking? How can you protect yourself from it? And what can you do if you become a victim?

What is SIM Jacking?

SIM jacking is a form of identity theft that targets your phone number. Attackers can use SIM jacking to take over your cell phone account and gain access to your personal information, including text messages, contacts, and financial accounts. They can also use it to make calls and send text messages on your behalf.

Moreover, if your phone number is registered with your bank account, the hackers can bypass the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and reset your password to access your financial accounts. They may also use your phone number to sign up for new accounts in your name, such as email or social media accounts.

SIM jacking is relatively new, but it is becoming more common as our lives become more and more online. And it’s not just celebrities and high profile individuals who are at risk. SIM jacking can happen to anyone with a phone number.

How does SIM jacking work?

SIM jacking usually starts with some kind of phishing attack. Attackers send you a text or email that looks like it’s from your mobile operator. The message may indicate that there has been suspicious activity in your account or that you need to update your information.

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Clicking on the link in the message will take you to a fake website similar to your provider’s. The website will ask for your personal information, including your name, address and date of birth. It will also ask for your mobile number and your account PIN.

Once the attacker has your details, they can contact your carrier and request a new SIM card. After receiving the new SIM card, they can take over your mobile account and access your personal data.

SIM Jacking Using SIM Jacker Software

Apart from the above method, another has been discovered that uses a piece of software called SIM-Jacker. SIM-Jacker is a type of spyware program that can be installed on a victim’s phone without their knowledge and then used to send commands to the SIM card that can take over the phone.

In a SIM jacker attack, a special spyware-like malware is sent to a phone via SMS. This code is actually intended to instruct the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) to take over the phone to retrieve and execute sensitive commands.

The attacker gains access to the device’s location and, more importantly, its Cell ID via SMS. This would allow the hacker to successfully gain access to your device.

The dangerous thing about this attack is that you don’t even realize that your device has been compromised, because you don’t receive any warnings about a possible attack.

How To Protect Yourself From SIM Jacking

Nevertheless, you can do a few things to protect yourself from SIM jacking.

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First of all, make sure your personal information is safe. Not all information is intended to be posted online. Be careful who you give your sensitive information to and never click on links in text messages or emails unless you are sure they come from a trusted source.

Then avoid using the SMS medium for MFA. Instead, you can enable MFA with an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Authy.

You should always keep a close eye on your mobile account. Watch for suspicious activity, such as text messages or calls that you didn’t make, and report it to your carrier immediately. Also look for other activities, such as unexpected charges, new account registrations, or other activities that seem unusual.

If you tend not to install the latest updates on your devices, it can lead to security issues on your device. Make sure to keep your phone’s operating system and applications up to date. Security updates often include patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities.

Next, you need to provide your device with a security program. Security software can help protect your phone from malware, including spyware, such as SIM-Jacker. Look for a program that includes antispyware protection and make sure it is always up to date.

What to do if you think you’ve had a SIM jack?

If you think you’ve been a victim of SIM jacking, there are a few things you can do…

  • Contact your carrier: The first thing to do is to contact your mobile operator. They may be able to deactivate your old SIM card and activate a new one.
  • Change your passwords: Once you have a new SIM card, change the passwords for all your accounts. This includes email, social media, banking, and all other accounts that use two-factor authentication.
  • Notify your friends and family: After taking your SIM card, the attackers can contact your family and friends by impersonating you and asking them for favors such as borrowing money or distributing malware. So as soon as you suspect that your SIM card has been compromised, inform your contacts about it so they don’t get phishing.
  • Re-verify WhatsApp with a new SIM card: The attackers can get their hands on your WhatsApp account after SIM jacking. Make sure to re-verify your WhatsApp account after getting a new SIM card.
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In any case, you should be proactive and take immediate action to avoid bigger losses from SIM jacking.

Is SIM Jacking a Big Threat?

SIM jacking is a serious threat, but it is not as common as other forms of identity theft. This is because it requires a high level of technical expertise and can be difficult to achieve. However, if you are a target, the consequences can be devastating.

That is why it is important to be aware of the risks and to take measures to protect yourself. If you think you may have been a victim of SIM jacking, contact your carrier immediately and request a new SIM card.

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