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Published on Feb 12, 2016

Abstract

Cell phone cloning is copying the identity of one mobile telephone to another mobile telephone.

Description of Mobile Phone Cloning

Usually this is done for the purpose of making fraudulent telephone calls. The bills for the calls go to the legitimate subscriber. The cloner is also able to make effectively anonymous calls, which attracts another group of interested users. Cloning is the process of taking the programmed information that is stored in a legitimate mobile phone and illegally programming the identical information into another mobile phone. The result is that the "cloned" phone can make and receive calls and the charges for those calls are billed to the legitimate subscriber. The service provider network does not have a way to differentiate between the legitimate phone and the "cloned" phone.

HOW IS CELL CLONING DONE?

Cloning involved modifying or replacing the EPROM in the phone with a new chip which would allow you to configure an ESN (Electronic serial number) via software. You would also have to change the MIN (Mobile Identification Number). When you had successfully changed the ESN/MIN pair, your phone was an effective clone of the other phone. Cloning required access to ESN and MIN pairs. ESN/MIN pairs were discovered in several ways.

  • Sniffing the cellular
  • Trashing cellular companies or cellular resellers
  • Hacking cellular companies or cellular resellers

Cloning still works under the AMPS/NAMPS system, but has fallen in popularity as older clone able phones are more difficult to find and newer phones have not been successfully reverse-engineered.

Cloning has been successfully demonstrated under GSM, but the process is not easy and it currently remains in the realm of serious hobbyists and researchers.

HOW TO PREVENT CELL CLONING?

Uniquely identifies a mobile unit within a wireless carrier's network. The MIN often can be dialed from other wireless or wire line networks. The number differs from the electronic serial number (ESN), which is the unit number assigned by a phone manufacturer. MINs and ESNs can be checked electronically to help prevent fraud.

  • Mobiles should never be trusted for communicating/storing confidential information.
  • Always set a Pin that's required before the phone can be used.
  • Check that all mobile devices are covered by a corporate security policy.

 

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