FCC asks carriers to step up to stop SIM…

The US federal agency puts pressure on telecom carriers to put better authentication, account protection safeguards in place.

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put out for comment its first set of consumer cybersecurity protection rules under the Biden administration. These proposed rules address the growing scourge of so-called SIM swapping and port-out fraud.

These scams exploit the fact that many businesses and organizations use cell phones to identify individuals for a host of accounts aside from mobile phone service. Among the accounts that use cell phones number for identification are e-mail, social media, banking, cryptocurrency exchanges, and online retail outlets, to name just a few of the kinds of accounts that criminal actors can compromise.
SIM (subscriber identity module) cards allow carriers to identify individual users once inserted in a device. Mobile phone owners can typically switch carriers and keep their own devices by simply swapping out SIM cards.

In issuing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC said it “has received numerous complaints from consumers who have suffered significant distress, inconvenience, and financial harm as a result of SIM swapping and port-out fraud.” As Senator Ron Wyden said in a letter he and his colleagues sent to the FCC last year urging the agency to address SIM swapping, fraudsters use SIM swapping to “get wireless carriers to transfer the cell phone accounts of victims to them, steal their login credentials and then empty their victims’ bank accounts.”

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.

Photo by Eirik Solheim on Unsplash


Data security risks threaten approval of Chinese undersea cable…

lead centered=”no”The US government’s “Team Telecom” wants to partially deny a proposed undersea cable connection between the US and Hong Kong over surveillance, data theft concerns./lead

On June 17, the intergovernmental group known as Team Telecom filed on behalf of the Executive Branch a recommendation to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to partially deny an undersea cable system application by a Chinese company called Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN). Team Telecom (recently renamed as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector) consists of the Department of Homeland Security )DOH) and the Department of Defense (DOD) led by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Foreign Investment Review Section. In its filing Team Telecom specifically urged the commission to reject that part of the application that involves a direct connection between the US and Hong Kong.

The rationale for the recommended rejection echoes similar recent moves by the Trump Administration to push Chinese technology out of the US telecommunications system and power grid supply chains. The White House, along with Team Telecom, has stepped up its arguments that China poses a digital and technology security threat, a contention that is occurring against a backdrop of soured trade negotiations and a politically deteriorating relationship between the US and China.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.