Cell phone cloning is the act of copying the identity of one particular mobile phone to another. At one time, it accounted for a large portion of cellular fraud. Cell phone cloning is usually done to make fraudulent phone calls. The bill for these calls goes to the legitimate subscriber.
Because of this, it is very popular in places that have large immigrant populations. The cost of making phone calls to many places overseas is very steep. A cloner also has the capability to make anonymous phone calls. This has attracted interested law makers whose primary goal is to stop identity theft and online fraud.
The Magic Behind the Crime
Cellular thieves can obtain MINs using various devices such as cell phone digital data interpreters or ESN readers. DDIs are special devices that are manufactured specifically to intercept MINs. By simply standing near busy roads where cellular traffic volume is very high, thieves are able to monitor radio wave transmissions coming from cell phones to capture the MIN or ESN pair.
Cell phone numbers can be recorded and downloaded to a computer. MIN and ESN readers can also be utilized from the confines of an offender?s hotel room, office or home. This increases the difficulty of detection.
Code division multiple access or CDMA cell phone cloning involves gaining access to a device?s embedded file system, num and nvm directory. It is usually done with specialized software. Placing modified electrically erasable programmable read-only memory or EEPROM into the targeted cell phone also enables a person to perform CDMA cloning.
These two methods allow a cloner to change the cell phone?s mobile equipment identifier and electronic serial number. Both of these cell phone components are usually transmitted to a cellular company?s mobile telephone switching office. This is done in order to authenticate the device into the mobile phone network. Modifying this along with the cell phone?s mobile identification number and its preferred roaming list or PRL can pave a path for fraudulent phone calls. With this, the target cell phone becomes a copy of the device where the original MIN and ESN numbers are maintained.
GSM cell phone cloning is achieved by copying SIM cards. With this cloning approach, several methods are used to obtain both the electronic serial number and the mobile identification number.
The most common approach in GSM cell phone cloning is to crack the cellular provider. Eavesdropping on a cellular network can also be used in GSM cloning. GSM SIM cards are copied by removing the card. At the same time, a device is placed between the SIM card and the phone.
This allows the cellular phone to operate normally for a number of days. During this time, the secret code or KI is extracted. GSM cloning is normally performed with a handset that features a vacant space for an extended battery. Thieves place a Kopy Kat device there that can log the interaction between the mobile telephone switching office and the handset. The process is done repeatedly by allowing the cell phone to log the interaction between the handset and the mobile telephone switching office.
A Major Impact
Every year, the cell phone industry loses millions of dollar in total revenue from people who reconfigure mobile phones. The result is that their calls are billed to another phone unit that is owned by unsuspecting third persons. These copied mobile phones can be utilized to place thousands of calls even to foreign countries. It results in thousands of dollars in long distance charges and air time. Additionally, mobile phone companies do not require customers to pay for any kind of charges illegally made to their account.
However, some portion of the cost from these illegal calls is passed along to cellular phone subscribers as a whole. A lot of criminals also utilize cloned cellular phones for their illegal activities. These people do not want their phone calls recorded on their account. Cloning makes it very difficult for police officers to trace their phone calls and locate them.
This phenomenon is very common in drug crimes. Drug dealers need to be in continuous contact with their cohorts in the streets and their sources of supply. They usually acquire cloned phones at a very affordable price, make a number of calls and throw them away after a few days of heavy use. Now that cellular phones can access online bank accounts, thieves are becoming more involved in cell phone copying. Their agenda involves using identity theft to gain access to these accounts and run away with money from unsuspecting victims.