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EFCC: How fraudsters cloned EFCC chief’s phone numbers

EFCC: How fraudsters cloned EFCC chief’s phone numbers
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Daring fraudsters have manged to duplicate the mobile phone numbers of acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, in what the anti-graft agency says is a ploy to dupe unwary victims.

Expert opinion differ on cloning of GSM phones, the popular mobile telephony network technology used by majorities of mobile phones in Nigeria, including the nation’s anti-graft chief.

EFCC did not give details but has alerted Nigerians to beware of a group of fraudsters that have cloned the telephone numbers of the agency acting Chairman, Magu.

Cloning has been shown to be successful on CDMA networks, but rare on GSM, according to Wikipedia.

An Internet user seen browsing the Internet on a mobile phone
An Internet user seen browsing the Internet on a mobile phone

However, on such rare cases cloning of a GSM phone is achieved by cloning the SIM card contained within, but not necessarily any of the phone’s internal data. GSM phones do not have ESN or MIN, only anInternational Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. There are various methods used to obtain the IMEI and MIN. The most common methods are to hack into the cellular company, or to eavesdrop on the cellular network.[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”right” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”yes”]Meanwhile Nigeria’s EFCC says that hackers of Magu’s phones have, “been making calls to close contacts of the anti-graft Czar and other prominent personalities demanding for huge sums of money using various pretexts. Members of the public are hereby warned to disregard any call supposedly from the EFCC Chairman asking for payments to be made either to nominated proxies or accounts as such calls do not emanate from Ibrahim Magu.”[/quote]

According to the Wikipedia article, a GSM SIM card is copied by removing the SIM card and placing a device between the handset and the SIM card and allowing it to operate for a few days and extracting the KI, or secret code.

This is normally done with handsets that have the option of an “extended battery” by placing the normal size battery in the handset and the Kopy Kat in the now vacant extra space. This is done by allowing the device to log the interaction between the mobile telephone switching office and the handset.

In another view, cloning has been shown to be successful on code division multiple access (CDMA) but rare on the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), one of the more widely used mobile telephone communication systems, according to Movzio.

Movzio also explains that, “cloning GSM phones is achieved by cloning the SIM card contained within, not necessarily any of the phone’s internal data. GSM phones do not have ESN or MIN, only an IMEI number. GSM SIM cards are actually copied by removing the SIM card and placing a device between the handset and the SIM card and allowing it to operate for a few days and extracting the KI, or secret code. 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.”

Meanwhile Nigeria’s EFCC says that hackers of Magu’s phones have, “been making calls to close contacts of the anti-graft Czar and other prominent personalities demanding for huge sums of money using various pretexts. Members of the public are hereby warned to disregard any call supposedly from the EFCC Chairman asking for payments to be made either to nominated proxies or accounts as such calls do not emanate from Ibrahim Magu.”

Only a few weeks before the hacking of Magu’s phones, EFCC had issued an alert over the activities of a syndicate that opened a Facebook account in the name of the EFCC boss and began soliciting for friendship from prominent individuals and all manner of favours using the social platform.

EFCC says that its acting chairman and all its officials “do not solicit for nor accept payments/gratification from persons or organisations under any guise.”

It enjoined members of the public to “report anyone claiming to be acting on behalf of the acting chairman or other officials of the EFCC at any of the Commission’s offices in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano, Gombe, Ibadan and Maiduguri or the nearest police station.”

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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929

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