Security of Mobile Phones -- Chennai Perspective
Of late, mobile phone theft has been seeing an upward curve particularly in India. The inclination and the acuteness of the incident had been to GSM technology cells since these do not have a tigher security infrastructure in place and the lifter can throw off the embedded SIM card and push a new prepaid SIMCard and start talking off. Catalysing it is the callous attitude of the wireless and cellular networks that do not emphasize on a proper documentation other than, if I am right, the state-owned BSNL. While these networks focus on increasing the number of subscribers and adding congestion to the communication line, least they concenterate on the ethical use of mobiles.
Actually, one of my friend had to lose his GSM mobile that way yesterday and hence I thought, I would have a writeup for the benefit of other readers.
Some of the tips mentioned here may apply for Chennai/India region only If the reader finds a common thing for other part of the world as an extension, please feel free to share the same as a comment for the benefit of other readers as well.
With these in place, there are a few guidelines that can be adopted.
- Have the mobile attached to a firm neckrope. That is more safer than having it loose in the pockets. Even the mobile pouch fails to secure the desired advantage since in crowdy buses (a typical situation in Chennai) the pocket picker finds it easy to rip you off your favorite mobile while you clutch the support and manage to stand in the crowd. The pouches are good as long as you have own conveyance but not when you depend on public conveyance route. Whether one wants the security of your mobile or only a pompous show off as a costly pouch case is purely a personal decision/compromise to make.
- Have the IMEI number handy in your wallet. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. While Indian wireless networks are still not geared in any way, in a confirmed fashion, to deactivate a mobile completely with a IMEI, a relatively secure way of tracking the use of stolen mobiles have been reported by Chennai Cybercrime Police.
- With an IMEI number, strongly refrain from storing the same in your mobile inbox. You can get your mobile IMEI number by using *#06#. This applies to Nokia handsets. I think this is same across other manufacturers too.
- When your mobile is lost, ensure that you take a bit of time to have it reported to your network operator so that your mobile number or credit balance is not abused by the lifter. It also poses the following perils that accompany it:
- The numbers in the phone book are now vulnerable for false information and may be called and cheated.
- If you are subscribed to Banking Telephony or Credit Card Balance alerts, your fiscal information may be subject to untold risk at the hand of the lifter.
- Good thing is that leading network operators have relaxed the condition of necessitating the producing of First Information Report (FIR) from Police, since FIRs take a significantly long time at least in Chennai and in most of the cases, one has to shell a lumpsum to get an FIR, though not official bill mostly the amount tendered would be under-table and if you refuse to satisfy the illegal gratification that is being solicited, you would need to return empty handed and may need to walk to and fro for at least a month to get an FIR.
- Thanks to Chennai City Police, they have also launched a CyberCrime Cell where you can report mobile theft incidents. Check out this URL and address of Chennai City Police Cybercrime cell: http://www.naavi.org/cl_editorial_04/cyber_Crime_ps.htm
I think, when we compare this to CDMA, CDMA scores high since when we report a mobile loss, the mobile is permanently deactivated since there is no SIM card and everything is configured by the network.