What is SIM Swapping and How to Avoid SIM Swapping
Cybercrime does not stop, and hackers are continually looking for ways to steal user data to take over their bank accounts and be able to profit financially from cyberattacks.
This time it is about SIM Swapping, a technique related to the SIM cards of mobile phones that manages to impersonate the identity of the victims.
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What is SIM Swapping?
SIM Swapping is a type of cyber attack carried out by duplicating the SIM card of the mobile phone. With this action, cybercriminals can steal all kinds of information from the hacked mobile, from passwords and keys to photos and emails.
Internet criminals use social engineering techniques, such as phishing or pharming, to lure users into their traps. Through an SMS or an email, malicious links are sent, and with them, they obtain personal data such as the address or identity documents of the victim to carry out the SIM Swapping.
Requesting a duplicate SIM card is very simple. Once the cybercriminals have obtained the personal data of any person, they can call the operator to request the duplicate and, done. They will have managed to send them a duplicate SIM card in a few minutes.
Once they have obtained the duplicate and the victim’s data, they can impersonate her by accessing bank accounts or making purchases online.
What is the Use of Duplicating the SIM?
The main objective of criminals is to access the victims’ money, and SIM Swapping provides many more guarantees than typical phishing. With phishing, cybercriminals obtain the data to access bank accounts. Still, if they encounter the double authentication factor, it is much more challenging to enter because the SMS will reach the victim’s phone, and they will not have access.
With SIM Swapping, they have the same SIM card as the victim, so they will also have access to the authentication SMS, and it will be much easier for them to access the bank.
How Should You Know if you are a Victim of SIM Swapping?
One of the first signs to know if a SIM Swapping has attacked us is detecting that the telephone line does not work for a few moments, and the phone loses the connection and recovers it after a few minutes. This happens the moment the criminal installs the SIM in a new phone since the line is automatically deactivated.
When the victim’s phone has been offline, the hacker has accessed everything that interested him. He can access banking applications, your email and even send messages.
Once the line is restored, the victim will be able to see that there has been tampering with their phone, detecting movements in their credit cards or confirmation SMS messages.
How to Avoid SIM Swapping?
It seems that this is only a security problem of the operators, who facilitate a duplicate card with few details of the lien holder. Still, we users can also take some measures to avoid falling into SIM Swapping.
Secure SIM Card with PIN
Most phones allow you to add a PIN to unlock the SIM card, and some phones even give you the option to change the PIN for access with fingerprint or facial recognition. This will be very useful to prevent them from accessing the SIM card even if they have a duplicate.
Avoid Two-Step Authentication Via SMS
Two-factor authentication is a perfect tool to protect our applications and accounts, but in this case, if the verification is done through SMS or email, the hacker will be able to access it. That is why it is recommended that two-step authentication be done through a second key or authenticator application.
Don’t Click on Unknown Links
It seems obvious, but when we receive an email asking us to update passwords or click on a link to access an account, they likely want to attack us there. It is essential to read carefully, verify the email and not accept conditions or change passwords at the first opportunity.
Install Security Tools
It is worth protecting our phones to avoid SIM Swapping or any other type of cyber attack. Cybersecurity applications and tools allow you to block malicious emails and internet threats.
Don’t Share any Information on the Internet
With the use of social networks, we usually provide all kinds of data, which is a mistake. Do not publish or share personal data that is unnecessary so that you will be protecting your privacy.
Cybercriminals are increasingly looking for all kinds of ways to access our information, such as SIM Swapping, among many other cybercrimes.