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Imported SIM cards under scanner of security agencies

A high-level committee of central security agencies and Telecom Department has been constituted to look into the issue of imported SIM cards.



New Delhi: A high-level committee of
central security agencies and Telecom Department has been
constituted to look into the issue of imported SIM cards,
especially in view of their vulnerability to embedded
softwares which can track and monitor calls of the users.
The Telecom Department and central security agencies
have been entrusted with the task to carry out a "joint
technical assessment" of existing SIM cards which have been
imported in view of the security threat posed by them and
present their report to the Home Ministry, official sources
said.

The telecom service providers may also be asked to
absorb replacement cost of all such SIM cards, they said.

While nearly 70 per cent of SIM cards are manufactured
in the country, over 30 per cent are imported and pose a
threat to security, official sources said.

The security agencies fear that SIM being "mini
computer", malware programs can be embedded in them which
result in tracking and monitoring of telephone activity
undertaken by the users, they said.

The security agencies say that this vulnerability can
be eliminated by "personalisation" of SIM cards by telecom
service providers but the companies are outsourcing this
process to manufacturing facilities abroad and are providing
those companies with inscription keys which in turn is
enhancing the susceptibility.
The Telecom Department (DOT) had also proposed that
service providers be asked to personalise the SIM cards
"necessarily" in the country only, official sources said.

The DOT has also been asked to instruct the telecom
service providers to upgrade their softwares in a way to
identify duplicate and fake SIM cards, they said.

PTI

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