How to locate and block the use of a stolen mobile phone.

The robbery of smartphones, more than an economic problem for the owners, represents a severe risk for the cyber security. According to the specialists in personal data protection, any threaten actor can be able to manipulate the IMEI number of an smartphone using hacking tools easy to use.

The IMEI (International monile Equipment Identity) is an unique dientifier for every existent smartphone in the world. This is a key formed with 15 numbers and it is necessary in the case of repairs, guarantees, robbery reports etc. This number is on every device, no matter the creator or the operator.

According to specialits in personal data protection, the Indian government is planning to stop the robbery of mobile devices with the creation of an Identity Central for devices that will add all of the IMEI of the smartphones that operate in the indian territory only in one database,

The database will contain 3 different IMEI lists:

  • The white list identifies the systems that are avaiables to receive and do calls.
  • The grey list are the systems that can do and receive calls, but can be supervised to discover the identity of the users.
  • The black list idenitfies the systems that have been reported as stolen or with critical technical problems that prevent the users to receive or to do calls.

When this system is ready, the owner of a stolen smartphone can present a complain on the Department of Telecomunications of India (DoT) that, at the same time, will write on the black list the reported IMEI, which will prevent that the stolen smartphone can read a SIM card, no matter the user.

The authorities wait that blocking the reported smartphones to the DoT the number of robbery decrease and, eventually, making the robs themselfs become a minimum.

Specialists in personal data protection of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) consider that other reason that the authorities decided ti implement a unique database of IMEI keys to make easier the process of “legal interception based on IMEI”. Though this mechanism, the authorities or companies can block the IMEI number specificatly, totally blocking the current smartphone.

Besides India, the authorities of other countries have used similar meassures. The goverments of Australia, Turkey, UK, and others, already count with central data bases for the IMEI register, developed for the same objectives.





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