VODACOM and AT&T Face New Hacking Scam through SIM Card Swapping


New risks of hacking are being faced by VODACOM GROUP PTY LTD (FRA:5VD) and

AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc.

(NYSE:T) concerning illegal SIM card swapping, which allows customer validation on mobiles. Hackers gather personal data of the company and its users by calling the SIM owners and controlling personal accounts and chips; by doing this these hackers are coming up with a new method to commit online banking fraud and global calling theft.

Communications Fraud Control Association believes that this particular type of hacking could be a threat to the telecommunications industry worldwide. It is expected that the global industry might lose around $46.3 billion or 2% f its total revenue to fraud in the year 2013. The CFCA believes that SIM swapping may triple the loss (probably $3.6 billion in losses) faced by the telecommunications industry worldwide back in 2011.

The hackers who use SIM card swapping have come up with convincing stories to support their crime. They carefully research the names and addresses of their victims after which they call victims’ wireless providers and provide them with all the personal information of their victim and inform the providers that their victim’s SIM card has been switched to a new device. After this confirmation, the victim’s phone goes dead and all activities are carried out through hacker’s device.

According to the Principal researcher for security at Lookout Inc, Marc Rogers the SIM car scamming is still quite new, however it will soon extend to wireless networks specially targeting smartphone users more. This puts wireless carriers in a position where they have to learn ways to indentify a legal SIM from a swapped illegal one. This scamming is extremely easy for hackers because customers shift their SIMs whenever they buy a new device.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) says that they are doing everything to protect their customers by spreading awareness among them regarding the SIM swapping scam. However, whether the company has taken any new safety measures against this scam is still unknown. Vodacom spokesperson, Richard Boorman said that they send text messages to warn all their customers about the SIM swap scam.

Spokesmen of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s spokesperson Tom Pica, Stephanie Vinge Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S)’s spokesperson and Anne Marshall T MOBILE US INC (NYSE:TMUS)’s spokesperson have not yet offered any information about the scam. Spokesperson for the agency, Mike Snyder reported that the United States Federal Communications Commission has not issued any particular consumer guidance regarding the SIM swap scam.

A case with the FCC was filed against AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) by Mari and Candace claiming that AT&T didn’t warn their customers about the SIM swap scam.