SIM-swap prevention drive ‘won’t be effective’ - Fin24 user

MTN has embarked on a drive to prevent SIM-swap fraud after several reports of the crime this year.

On Wednesday, Fin24 reported that mobile operator MTN is driving a new SIM-swap strategy to try limit the incidents of fraudulent swaps that have seen people lose thousands of rands.

The new measures include halting SIM-swaps between 20:00 and 07:00. MTN also plans to run a campaign encouraging customers to supply a "secondary number or e-mail address for SIM swap verification purposes".

Meanwhile, an expert in the industry Chris van der Merwe, who is the CEO of a company called Smart Wireless Laboratory, has issued his views on MTN's SIM-swap measures:

We have studied the current incidents of the MTN SIM Swap saga and as a developer of these technologies, we are of the impression that the MTN SIM swap drive will not be effective. This is a trend which has been taking place around the world, especially in the light of events where financial institutions are involved.

This type of fraudulent activities are on the rise and in many environments where physical involvement in the SIM swap can not be eliminated, the trend will not die down but rather increase. It is sad to say that the criminal factor calls for more creativity and the SIM is and will remain a very vulnerable aspect.

We have started a design whereby SIM modules and cards are being eliminated in the user equipment and have tested the concept with huge success. Our identification module is being written into the UE software and the SIM swap then takes place on a central server, which eliminates physical hardware changes and configurations.

Our current UE talks to the small cell and in essence the subscriber just logs on with a future function of choosing a mobile network of his / her choice, subscribes, and continues business as normal. Should the subscriber choose to change networks, this could take place within five minutes.

Our integration into MNO’s is quick and faultless and the headaches of subscription is being eliminated, and so is any fraudulent activity.

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