25 October 2016
Robert Siciliano

Identity Theft Expert

Robert Siciliano - IDTheftSecurity.com

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Mobile Phones Being Hacked and Cloned

05 March 2011  |  9405 views  |  1

Cloning occurs when hackers scan the airwaves to obtain SIM card information, electronic serial numbers and mobile identification numbers, and then using that data on other phones.

Cloning can happen anywhere, anytime that you’re using your phone. The bad guy simply uses an interceptor, hardware, and software to make a phone exactly like yours.

A few years ago, I was in San Diego on business. Two weeks later I received a call from my carrier alerting me to $1500.00 worth of international calls I had not made. The activity triggered an alert within their system and they shut my account down.

Fortunately for me, my carrier recognized the fraud and relieved me of the charges, rather than me discovering it and having to fight to reverse the charges. Apparently, it was a known issue that scammers in Tijuana were cloning U.S.-based phones.

Anita Davis, another mobile clone victim, wasn’t so lucky. One month, her cell phone bill showed $3,151 worth of calls in one month, to Pakistan, Israel, Jordan, Africa, and other countries. Anita called her carrier immediately and told them she didn’t know anyone in those countries, or anyone outside the U.S. for that matter. She says, “They told me I had to have directly dialed these numbers from my cell phone and I needed to make a payment arrangement or they would send my bill to collections.” After begging and pleading, Anita convinced them to drop the charges.

The extent of your vulnerability varies depending on your phone and the network you’re on. Cloning mobile phones is becoming increasingly difficult, but consumers can’t do anything to prevent it from happening. The best way to mitigate the damage is to watch your statements closely. The moment you see an uptick in charges, contact your carrier and dispute the calls.


TagsSecurityRisk & regulation

Comments: (2)

Dean Procter
Dean Procter - Transinteract - Sydney | 18 March, 2011, 00:09

Evil twins can easily be detected by the telco's, just like stolen phones can be. There is simply too much money in it for telcos to want to prevent  it.

Getting them to do it would be like herding a bunch of Gadaffi's, oh, I meant giraffes

No I meant pirates..You get the idea.

BTW for a mobile transaction system unaffected by cloning attempts see the new move in grass-roots banking, coming soon. Much like the grass roots democracy we are seeing sweep the world of dinosaurs. Can't say I didn't see that coming. :) ...Imminent Failure Of Nation States.

Could be wrong, Brown did lose the UK election.


All the way with RSA....not....all the way in - hacked

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Robert Siciliano
Robert Siciliano - IDTheftSecurity.com - Boston | 18 March, 2011, 00:18


Must be a blast being inside your head. Serious. My sister-in-law is in Brisbane, when I finally slog down there we need to drink pints. Lots.

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Security analyst, published author, television news correspondent. Deliver presentations throughout the United States, Canada and internationally on identity theft protection and personal security....

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