SIM card replication in Sri Lanka: Fact or fiction?

November 28, 2023

In Sri Lanka, there have been persistent rumors about SIM card replication, causing concerns among citizens. However, State Minister of Technology Kanaka Herath has dismissed the possibility of SIM card replication, citing the rigorous identity verification measures in place when issuing SIM cards. Telco insiders also consider these rumors unfounded, attributing them to sensationalist sources.

Instead, there is growing concern about cybercriminals using social engineering tactics to deceive individuals into disclosing their One-Time Passwords (OTPs) or installing third-party applications that clone their messages. This strategy bypasses the need for SIM card replication and focuses on obtaining OTPs for illicit financial transactions.

Cyber Security Advisor Asela Waidyalankara acknowledges persistent complaints about SIM replication but suggests that social engineering tactics play a significant role. Cybercriminals aim to capture OTPs to gain access to financial accounts. This approach may not involve SIM card replication but relies on manipulating individuals into revealing their OTPs.

Waidyalankara highlights the importance of digital literacy in safeguarding against such cybercrimes. He advises caution when sharing personal information and mobile numbers on social media, as this can inadvertently expose sensitive data. Digital literacy and awareness are essential for protecting personal information in the digital age.

While the issue of SIM card replication remains unsubstantiated, the broader challenge of cybersecurity is a pressing concern. Sri Lanka must educate its citizens about digital security and raise awareness to fortify defenses against cybercrime in an era of evolving digital threats.

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