The eSIM is gradually making its way into our markets and is being adopted into all types of devices and gadgets, more especially those related to the IoT. The eSIM is becoming popular in areas such as robotics, asset/inventory management, smart grid and personal devices such as smartphones and watches.
Some network providers have already started looking into the effect that the eSIM will have on their companies and their new revenue opportunities. This article will focus mainly on the fraud management regarding eSIM which is linked closely to security.
Fraud domain and security are starting to interrelate. This is mainly because of the switch to IP networks and this makes telecom networks quite vulnerable to many risks. One of the biggest risked they have to deal has been originally used by hackers to create website outages or cause other types of chaos are now being exploited to commit telecom fraud.
The GSMA’s Security Accreditation Scheme (SAS) allows mobile operators to gain access to the security of their UICC and eSIM suppliers, regardless of their resources and experience. This, therefore, means that without the consent of the Mobile Network Operators, there is no way to download applications to the Universal Integrated Circuit (UICC). With so many stakeholders involved, if there is a fraud or a security breach occurs in a eUICC environment, it may be tough to swiftly identify and fix the root cause due to the fact that it can occur at so many different levels.
Eliminating physical SIM cards and implementing eSIMs will decrease the number that falls into the grey market, making it more complex for illicit purposes. For instance, the increased marketing of SIMBox device manufacturers is expected to be directly hit due to non-compliance of the now available GSMA’s evaluation and certification specifications that guarantee the various system entities (SM-DP, SM_SR, UEM, eUICC) can all be trusted by each other. At the same time, the GSMA has extended its work to cover security auditing and accreditation of the Embedded UICC suppliers and the providers of subscription management (DP and SR) services.
An additional area that is expected to see transformations is how Subscription Fraud will advance from an eSIM perspective and how these new attacks will be done by fraudsters. According to CFCA identity theft/fraud in telecommunications when the subscription process is in progress remains one of the most popular ways telecommunication fraud is committed. It normally involves identity theft or giving incorrect information at the point of sale. This allows the illicit use of telecom services or the use of such services for other fraudulent activities.
A physical SIM card can be removed and dispersed of when someone’s mobile device has been stolen or lost. However, the eSIM won’t give the same opportunity for that. A thief can disable all the restrictions on your device (unless it’s an iPhone), reset and resell the device like its brand new leaving no trace of the last SIMs data or information. With devices that have got the eSIM, this will be impossible to do due to the authentication and security measures in place. A fraudster would not be able to download a new profile without the owner’s device password and every time they attempted to reboot the device it would re-download the previous profile which would allow for location of the standard device.
In addition to this, it’s important to note that as the IoT makes continuous growth, many of the new eSIM operated devices are battery based and one-time use. Of course they get activated and used for a fair amount of years, however, people will eventually dispose of them. If devices such as an Apple Watch end up in the trash or a recycling center, there is a big risk of illegal re-use of second-hand devices that previously belonged to another person and is associated with their identity.
The eSIM is going to contribute a phenomenal role in improving the effectiveness of identity management, it additionally creates new doors to a fraudsters creativity. Wireless provisioning of operator profiles and allowing all ecosystem participants to connect to an online service might improve usability and convenience, it also creates a pathway for hacking opportunities that deliver access to confidential information.
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