Archive for the ‘sim cards’ Category
Security experts have found out a security flaw that may make some SIM cards vulnerable to hackers
SIM card bug. There are over 7 billion SIM cards in use around the world and all of them are carrying personal and delicate data such as subscribers’ identity, phone numbers, account details, etc. However, we tend to think that SIM cards are very well protected and the coding standard being quite reliable cannot be hacked so easily. This notion may have to change soon as people from Security Research Labs claim that they have pinpointed a security bug that could potentially affect millions of SIM cards. The issue is connected with over-the-air (OTA) updates which can be sent to a SIM card via a text message. Cryptographers from Security Research Labs found a way a crack such SIM update keys and get access to a SIM card remotely. Then through that security hole they successfully can do such things like copying the SIM card and all the data in it, installing malware that may for example send texts to premium numbers.
The good news is that only older SIM cards can be hacked this way and it is estimated that 1 out of 8 may be affected. Nevertheless, this still means that more than half a million SIM cards can be hacked via an SMS. Security Research Labs have some suggestion on how to prevent your SIM card from being hacked using OTA on their website. They have also announced that their research will be presented at Black Hat security conference on July 31 in Las Vegas.
Almost everyone has faced paying for bills more than they were expecting. Ofcom, UK regulator, found out that as much as 3 per cent (about 1.4 million) of customers has experienced “bill-shock” in the year to the end of July 2012. There are several activities contributing to this: making calls to numbers not included in inclusive call packages, exceeding voice or data allowances, using data that is not included in a bundle, using a phone while being abroad and lost or stolen phones. High bills vary from £20 to £50 and 70 per cent have to pay up to £20.
The regulator warns that if the mobile industry won’t sufficiently reduce customers’ damages it will impose obligatory options to solve the problem. For example, Ofcom advises operators and retailers to introduce roaming financial caps and alerts. It also has asked UK mobile providers to do something to develop and promote “opt-in” measures. These are: allowing customers to set their own financial caps and sending them alerts about usage. To enable this they should introduce some new tariffs. Two operators – Three and Tesco – offer such services but their limited version. However, the operators claim the services are difficult to put in practice because some of them are problematic when customers are abroad. Ofcom will also work with providers to solve the problem of high bills in case when phones are stolen or lost.
The annual Communications Market, the Ofcom research, showed that Brits are a nation of texters. Ofcom surveyed the British society and found out that an average consumer sends 50 texts per week. This means the nation has doubled its texting frequency in just 4 years, while 2011 was a record-breaking year with over 150 billion text messages sent. Out of them 83 billion were sent pay post-pay customers while 68 billion by pre-paids. The report also showed that a vast majority (90%) of the 16-24 group uses text communication every day. However, calling still brings the biggest revenue as it constitutes 2/3 of all the operators’ income. If we look on what delivers more profit: contract or pay as you go SIM cards, then contract customers spend on average £25.14 and PAYG clients just £6.56 a month. Talking about the comparison of pay as you go and postpaid services we have almost a tie in number of active connections. There are 41 million active contract SIM card out there in the UK, while PAYG SIM cards count gives a number of 40 million. This shows how operators have been luring pay as you go users and has steadily been converting PAYG to contract customers since 2009. If you are into figures and data, we advise checking the whole section on mobile services that is available for download at this link:
Payzone UK has announced that it is expanding its services to 99p Stores chain, which also include Family Bargain Outlets. It means that you will be able to top-up your pay as you go SIM cards in over 180 new locations all over UK. This new deal between 99p Stores and Payzone extends the retail chain’s PAYG SIM sales, as before that only SIM cards were available at 99 Stores. Now besides getting a new PAYG SIM card customers can instantly get a top-up and activate it.
Currently, at the 99 Stores you can get Lycamobile SIM card and SIM cards of main MNOs, including O2 SIM card.
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) announced a new standard of SIM cards, called the nano-SIM. The new SIM card is around 30 percent smaller than micro SIM cards, that emerged in the wake of smartphones. Nano-SIM card measurements are around 12 on 9 millimeters and is about 15 percent thinner than the previous SIM card standard. It is interesting as previous versions of SIM cards had just smaller width and length, but not the thickness. If the nano-SIM becomes a standard, using it in older devices will be a problem. Remember that for some people it is still hard to get a micro SIM or adjust their standard SIM card to the micro size. Moreover, many people were waiting long before the operators gave them micro SIM cards. However, G&D, who is known for producing the first SIM card 20 years ago, promises to provide an adapter so that the nano-SIM can be compatible with older devices.
It seems that nano-SIM card will become a standard very soon as back in May Apple already talked about minimizing micro SIM cards as they take too much precious space in the phone. G&D hopes that ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) will acknowledge the nano-SIM card by the end of the year. This means that we may see commercial nano-SIM cards somewhere in 2012.
Everything Everywhere, a joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile, is moving forward with the merger of their mobile coverage. Mobile operators have been working together since last year and until now customers of Orange and T-Mobile could use each other 2G signal. Thanks to it, customers should have less problems with poor mobile coverage, as their mobiles automatically switched between the carriers whenever necessary. From now on Everything Everywhere will give access to 3G coverage of both mobile operators to its customers. This “big 3G switch-on” starts from the third week of October and will be implemented region by region. Everything Everywhere plans to complete this dual 3G mobile coverage access within few months.
Virgin Media has offered a new interesting data deal for their PAYG customers. They can now buy a 1GB of monthly transfer for 25 quids. This data allowance will be valid for a period of 6 month from activation, but when you use it up during any month the additional data will be charged at standard rate. However, the customers can check their balance by texting or logging into their online Virgin accounts.
The operator representatives said that the deal is their why of giving their PAYG customers a possibility to use their smart phones at a reasonable price. The PAYG mobile web voucher can be bought on Virgin website or at any Virgin Media outlet, just like the PAYG Addict SIM card. The company decided to hold this offer until the 3rd of January 2012.