What is sim card cloning?

In an earlier post, we have discussed what is SIM. In this article, we will discuss what is sim card cloning.  A sim is an electronic chip inside a mobile phone which has memory and mobile operator information, through which a mobile user gets services from the mobile network operator. We know that cloning means creating a duplicate copy of something.  So sim card cloning means creating a duplicate sim card with identical information as the older one. Sim has applications and data inside. All information is not necessary to clone the sim to make it work.  Some key information is all needed to work the cloned sim card. Sim cloning copies the sim data from one chip to another. Here we will discuss what parameters are copied from older sim to new sim to make sim card work.  Means sim should be able to attach the mobile network and can perform voice, SMS, and data.

After cloning, a sim card can be used for Voice, SMS, etc, This is dangerous because a cloned sim is the same as the original sim. Person after sim cloning can get SMS etc. Most of the banks use OTP for authentication, so the guy can access back accounts too.

To understand what parameters need to copy, we should know how a sim card works?  The first thing is the SIM identity (IMSI) needs to be copied to the new SIM.  Every sim card configured against the IMSI in the mobile operators’ home networks. The main network components in-home network is the HLR and AUC.   HLR controls the subscription for roaming and data, AuC does the authentication.  For HLR a sim needs IMSI and for AuC, IMSI and Authentication key is required. So another parameter is the Authentication key. SMSC number is also important for mobile-originated SMS, but that can available from a mobile operator, it is a piece of public information.

How SIM card cloning is Done?

There is hardware called SIM card reader, which connects to a computer over USB or any other cable. The computer has installed software or driver for the sim card reader. The sim needs to be cloned,  is inserted in the sim card reader and software copies the data from sim to the storage. Now the new sim card is inserted and stored data is copied to the new SIM.  To verify cloning, the new sim is inserted in the mobile device, and if the sim is successful attaches to the network, it means cloning is successful.

How to avoid Sim Card Cloning?

There is only one way, that does not allow someone to keep your sim card or get access to it.  While giving your handset to anyone make sure that you remove your sim card. If for any reason you feel that another person needs a sim card from you, then make sure he does not access sim card from any software. So always keep eyes open to avoid sim card cloning.


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