SIM SWAP: How it works and how to prevent such events if it transpires

SIM Swap is a method whereby an anonymous person completely controls your smartphone with your help. This activity has been a norm here in Kenya and is giving Telcom providers headaches. We'll tell you what it's all about and how to avoid it.

SIM SWAP: How it works and how to prevent such events if it transpires
SIM SWAP: How it works and how to prevent such events if it transpires to you

When our personal information is exposed on the internet, the primary concern is that phishing attacks will attempt to steal access to our accounts. Enabling double authentication on the services you use is one of the parades. It adds a new authentication step, such as a message with a code, the usage of a security key, or the use of an authentication application and the password.

 If someone tries to access your account after hacking your password, confirming your identification, which will take place on your smartphone, should generally prohibit them. This, in theory, protects you. Nonetheless, your phone number might be taken using a practice known as  SIM swapping.

Also: Fuliza Mpesa: Everything you need to know about Fuliza services from Safaricom

What is SIM Swapping anyway, and how does it work?

SIM Swapping is a word used to describe the act of stealing a mobile phone number. The hackers' goal is to transfer your phone number from your SIM card to one they own. This isn't a complicated or out-of-reach method. Hackers frequently contact your operator's customer service in an attempt to spoof you. They can make claims for phone loss, theft, or malfunction. They can even try to entice you to unknowingly give them all your information.

Personal information such as your date of birth, address... information that can be accessed on the web, and stolen databases that may be found on the dark web or even on open access forums, is used to manipulate mobile providers.

Once the number has been moved, hackers will be able to receive your SMS and calls and gain access to services that require double verification. One of the most well-known incidents here in Kenya, as reported by the nation, is Farah Bashir, who lost KES 2.6 million to hackers in several transactions via M-Pesa.

How to Avoid SIM SWAP

You should be aware that this method is usually reasonably specific. The best course of action is to avoid disclosing personal information on the internet. It's easy to say, and it may be too late, but it's always necessary to be aware of it. As a result, avoid displaying your date of birth or confusing the tracks by inputting incorrect dates of birth.

Without using a phone number, choose a dual authentication activation using an authentication application. Google Authenticator is the most well-known, and Microsoft Authenticator is another option.

Also Read:How to use the Safaricom App to update your Safaricom number

You can also use your smartphone's dual SIM feature to create a second phone number affiliated with a low-cost mobile plan. This number could be used solely for double authentication of sensitive accounts, such as your email address, M-Pesa, etc if you are a Safaricom customer, Dial *100*100# from your Safaricom phone number to get assisted. 

In any event, keep alert; if your phone loses network, contact your mobile operator immediately. The following are the official numbers of the leading Telcos in Kenya.

  1. Safaricom: 0722000000
  2. Airtel Kenya: 0733 100 100
  3. Telkom: 020-2221000