SIM card hacking is quite a common practice by hackers these days. They are virtual thieves trying to rob you of your valuable information for their benefit. SIM Swap and SIM Jacking are the two most common but different methods used by hackers to gain access to your SIM card. Fortunately, there are ways through which you can protect your SIM card from being hacked if you are aware and vigilant. Here are 10 tips to help you to protect against SIM card hacking:
1. Protect Your Smartphone and SIM Card Physically
Don’t leave your phone unattended, in public areas or somewhere where a stranger can use it even for a couple of minutes. This is even easier nowadays to do “SIM card cloning” in a few minutes as there is no need to remove the battery to take out the SIM card.
2. Beware of Frauds
You should be very much aware of the latest schemes and techniques of phishing, scamming, and hacking. The hackers might call you, impersonating your bank or your carrier. They might send you links via SMS, email, or in your social media inbox or comment section. Never click on such links or share your details with them over phone calls or anything. The hacker might even try to manipulate you to share with him the 6-digit code sent to your phone number. Once you share the code, he will be able to reset the login and password details of your various accounts, including your bank accounts, and will gain complete access to them.
3. Avoid Oversharing of your Personal Information
Netizens share a lot of information over social media. They think it is harmless, but actually, it is not. Moreover, companies also retain quite a lot of information about their users during registration, which is vulnerable to security breaches and data leaks. The hackers can easily find your social media accounts, your name, address, phone number, photos, etc. This is a common method of SIM card swapping, and it uses social engineering. Delete your old account which is no longer in use as it can also be a target for hackers. Don’t share your personal information over suspected voice calls, emails, or texts.
4. Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi Networks
Everybody likes to have free internet, and connecting to a public Wi-Fi network seems great. But be very careful when you are about to connect with such networks. You don’t know who the owner is and what his intentions are. Sometimes they pretend to be a known establishment nearby you and might use a similar or exact Wi-Fi name. Even if the public network is not bogus, other users can see your details and browsing history. It is better to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your smartphone while using a public network to avoid being hacked.
5. Refrain from Charging your Smartphone in Public Places
The hackers use the “Juice Jacking” method, through which they can infect your phone and steal your valuable data using a modified power adapter or a USB cable. So it is advisable not to charge your phone in cafés, public libraries, restaurants, etc. It is better to carry your charger or power bank with you to such places.
6. SIM Card Lock
All the carriers provide the SIM locking feature. Lock the SIM card and change the PIN frequently on a weekly or monthly basis. Methods like fingerprint scanning and face recognition are also helpful. It is recommended not to use the ‘smart locking’ feature, in which your phone remains unlocked in familiar locations. It will keep your phone safe if the hacker is nearby.
7. Change your Two-Factor Authentication Method
It is better to switch from SMS based 2FA method to an app-based 2FA method because SMS based method is useless if you are a victim of SIM card swapping. An app-based method like Google Authentication app is a perfect fit for this. In this way, authentication is linked to your device rather than your phone number, which makes your SIM card more secure against SIM card swapping.
8. Enable ‘Find My Phone Feature
Find My Phone is an easy-to-use feature that blocks remote access to your phone. Moreover, you can locate the perpetrator if your smartphone or SIM card is stolen.
9. Strong Password Protection
Always use individually generated strong passwords. Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts. Also, remember that the answers to your password recovery questions are not publicly known, such as your nickname or your mother’s maiden name.
10. Know How to Respond if the SIM Card is Hacked
To minimize the damage quickly and efficiently, you need to know what to do when your SIM card is hacked. With a hacked SIM card, you will be unable to send texts and make calls even if there is no network issue or anything. If you lose service suddenly or receive a message that your SIM card has been deactivated, then contact your carrier immediately from some other phone number to secure your account. Check your email accounts to know about any suspicious login activity or password change. This will let you know which of your accounts has been hacked so that you can contact that company and take anti-fraud measures as soon as possible. Also, remember to change the login and password on all your other sensitive accounts so that the hacker can be prevented from accessing them in the future.
In the present scenario, SIM card hacking is quite prevalent and the rich, famous and socially active people are the most vulnerable to this. With some basic precautions, this can be prevented to a great extent. New hacking methods are developed from time to time but so are prevention methods too. All we need to do is to acquire knowledge about this and seek expert advice whenever it is required.