Business Technology

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Irish mobiles not susceptible to SIM card hacking virus, say networks

Close up of a mobile phone sim card
Close up of a mobile phone sim card

Adrian Weckler Technology Editor

SIM cards used in Irish mobile phones are not susceptible to a hacking virus that affects one-in-six handsets globally, according to all four major Irish mobile operators.

Spokesmen for Vodafone, O2, Meteor and Three have all told the Irish Independent that SIM cards used in Irish mobiles use different technology to the type threatened by the global hack.

"In Ireland, O2 has never used the type of SIM cards which are allegedly susceptible to hacking, so none of our customers are affected by this issue," said a spokesman for O2 Ireland.

Spokesmen for Vodafone, Meteor and 3 Ireland echoed this.

"Our SIM cards use a different encryption so our customers will not be affected," said a spokesman for 3 Ireland.

"The sims used by Vodafone Ireland customers are unaffected," said a spokesman for Vodafone.

A security flaw in mobile SIM cards was discovered and published on Sunday. The flaw is due to ageing SIM card security technology, which has struggled to keep up with hi-tech smartphones.

The hack works by manipulating a coding technology used by operators to update SIM cards. Properly equipped, a hacker can send a code to a SIM card to gain access to a phone's systems, from where fraudulent activity can be perpetrated.

The SIM card hacking flaw was discovered by German programmer Karsten Nohl, who alerted operators.

"Give me any phone number and there is some chance I will, a few minutes later, be able to remotely control this SIM card and even make a copy of it," Mr Kohl told reporters on Sunday.

Irish Independent

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