Many companies use SIMs for machine-to-machine communication, but these cards are often stolen, leaving the business with huge bills at the end of the month. HEIN KOEN provides some tips on how to keep them safe.
For companies who have come to rely on SIM cards for machine-to-machine communication and other enterprise-level solutions, fraud can be crippling. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures decision-makers can take to minimise the risk.
Any company with a sizeable SIM base has experienced fraud in some way – it is one of those things that often gets hidden in the plethora of bills a company receives. We have seen a few cases each totalling well over a R1-million. To say that SIM fraud can put a small company out of business is not an exaggeration.
There are mainly two types of SIM abuse.
The first is spend abuse. As the name suggests, this is when too much money is spent on a SIM card. This can either happen as a result of a device becoming faulty or a person using too much data. Often, this is written off as legitimate spend incurred during the course of business.
The second, and more concerning one, is when SIMs are stolen or compromised. These SIMs, typically found in terminals or point-of-sale devices, are then used for WASP-type services like buying airtime and data using the corporate account. And with syndicates using sophisticated methods to do this, the financial implications on a business can quickly become serious.
So what are some of the steps one can take to help combat SIM card fraud in the organisation?
Check your SIM
As a first step, the business needs to ensure that the correct SIM is in a device.
In other words, the SIM has to be risk managed. Ideally, companies should not use open-ended post-paid SIMs but opt to go the prepaid route. This massively reduces the potential for bill shock.
With prepaid SIMs, companies can manage their costs in real-time. After all, a prepaid SIM can only use the amount of airtime or data loaded on to it. This provides decision-makers with a much more efficient way of managing the associated costs. There is also no way that out of bundle rates, especially when it comes to mobile data, escalate out of control.
Use management tools
Companies should also evaluate whether they have the tools in place to manage their SIM cards effectively. There are online tools available to take the hassle out of managing prepaid SIMs and devices in real time.
However, working with a trusted service provider who has the expertise and know-how to do it means an organisation can focus on meeting its core business deliverables.
Keep devices locked
Another very useful measure to take is for decision-makers to lock down their devices in the field. There is software that can do this, either on a firmware or device level.
With a mobile workforce using tablets and smartphones, such software can be used to minimise risk even further.
One of the best things about going the prepaid route is that businesses need not worry about performing SIM swaps when devices are lost. It is just a case of inserting a new prepaid SIM into the device as the SIM is not linked to a specific account.
At the end of the day, it can cost a lot of money when falling prey to SIM fraud and abuse. By implementing some of these proactive measures, companies can mitigate some risks and monthly bill shocks.
* Hein Koen, co-founder of Flickswitch
Bring your network with you
At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.
In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.
Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.
“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.
The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.
Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.
“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.
He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”
By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.
The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.
Kaspersky moves to Switzerland
As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.
This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.
Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world
The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.
The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.
Relocation of customer data storage and processing
By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.
Relocation of software assembly
Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.
Establishment of the first Transparency Center
The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.
Independent supervision and review
Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.