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Published April 18, 2019
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Jim Drever, regional director, Wyoming SBDC Network
SIM (subscriber identity module) swapping is a major cellphone industry-wide problem and is growing. Simply put, a criminal calls a wireless company claiming to be the owner of your number and that he or she has purchased a new cellphone. The caller asks the company to activate the new phone, thus transferring the SIM. The cellphone companies usually oblige the caller’s request and the “new phone” now has all your accounts, plus the telephone number.
Have you ever reset your bank or other password, and they send you a PIN by text to verify it is you? Exactly. For most people, cellphones are the master keys to their online identities. By the time you realize your phone isn’t making calls or sending texts because someone stole your number, the criminals have already made off with what they wanted.
So, what can you do? First, stop giving out your cellphone number to websites, and treat it more like your social security number.
Second, watch what you post on social media. For a targeted attack, hackers will look through your accounts to find out personal information.
Next, instead of using SMS (short message service) for 2-factor, use a security app that requires a separate password login not associated with your phone number. Duo, Authenticator (Google’s and Microsoft’s) and Authy are some popular options many companies use.
Finally, wireless companies now offer a little extra security for which you may have to opt in. Usually, it is adding an extra PIN, spoken password or other way to verify the account before transferring SIMs to a different phone.
If you have any questions about cybersecurity for your business, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network adviser today for no-cost advising at www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.