How to Protect Yourself from SIM Swapping?
Phone numbers are one of the most common means of identification on online platforms. This is sometimes used together with your email address. This may occur to easily send specialized ads your way or to prevent fake accounts and spam better. Either way, there are higher chances of SIM swapping attacks and that’s why we have this article to help guide you on how to protect against SIM swapping.
In SIM swapping, the attacker utilizes social engineering skills to convince your network provider to issue a new SIM card and route all incoming calls and messages to the new one. Once this is done, your phone will lose signal and you won’t receive any alerts from your bank of transactions and so on.
The following steps will protect you against this attack:
1 . Don Give Your Phone Number to Online Services
Giving your phone number to online services puts you at risk of falling victim to SIM swapping, so when it’s not important don’t provide this information.
2. Use Other Forms of Two Factor Authentication
Avoid using your phone number for two-factor authentication. Instead, make use of other methods like authenticator apps, or hardware like FIDO U2F standard. Doing this will ensure that you don’t depend on your SIM card to have access to your accounts in case things go wrong. Even if your phone number is the primary method of identifying you as the owner of an account, set a secondary password that will keep intruders out (such as in WhatsApp).
3. Use A Prepaid SIM Card
Prepaid SIM cards are not always tied to any form of identity (credit card or ID card) or name, and as long as the one you are using isn’t, swapping it would be difficult. Note that some network services will only replace your SIM if you have the pack it came in as proof of ownership, so keep this safe.
4. Test Your Most Vulnerable Accounts
You may have some accounts like your email account that you can’t unlink from your phone number due to some reasons. Getting protected in such a case would require that you learn as much as you can about how easy it would be to take over the account with your SIM card. This way you would know how to better protect your account from attackers. Combine this with some publicly available information like your name and date of birth and see just how easy or difficult it is and what measures you can take to prevent a real-life attack.
Conducting these tests on your accounts would let you know if you would be needing advanced security measures like two-factor authentication, or if you would need to change your provider all together to one that protects you better.
5. Put A Lock On Your Phone Account
Contact your network provider to find out what measures and features are available to protect against SIM swapping. For some providers, you can set up a password, while others will require you to appear in person with a government issue ID card for identification. You won’t know all these except you make inquiries.
A successful SIM swapping attack could take over your life on the internet as many services are tied to your phone number. So if a skilled attacker succeeds in convincing your network provider to reroute every incoming call and message from your current card, you won’t get any alerts or notifications from your accounts on unauthorized access. And so you could ultimately be locked out of your account. This article gives you steps on how to protect against SIM swapping and following it reduces the chances of you falling a victim of the attacks.
To further protect your data and online presence, you would need to use a VPN. a VPN tunnels your connection through an intermediate server where encryption goes on and your IP addresses are changed. So no one knows who you are online, and every data you exchange remains encrypted. There are a lot of VPNs available but highly recommended is LimeVPN for the best performance.