Topic in News
- Virtual SIM used in Pulwama attack
- Forensic data from the terror site in the aftermath of Pulwama has revealed that the JeM suicide bomber used a ‘Virtual SIM’ to constantly interact with the masterminds in Pakistan.
- The Virtual SIM used by the suicide bomber was generated by a service provider of USA.
- India has requested the USA to assist with the details of the call trails of the Virtual SIM used by the suicide bomber.
In focus: Virtual SIM
Basics: Working of SIM
- A traditional physical SIM card is simply a means to identify an end user using mobile telephone services.
- It usually stores the identity data of the end user (mobile number) associated with a particular operator (service provider).
- When you want to use a mobile network from Airtel, you enter into a contract with Airtel who issue a physical SIM card to you.
- The SIM card issued by Airtel stores data of the end user and operator (mobile number and other data) that enables you to connect to the Airtel’s network.
Virtual SIM: Working Principle
- In case of Virtual SIM, there is no physical SIM card issued to the end user.
- Instead the mobile phones are embedded with a universal SIM card that can be configured to store data of any operator. (Note: In the traditional SIMs the SIM card stores data only of a particular operator)
- This enables remote SIM provisioning, which simply means that one may connect to any operator of choice remotely without actually having to buy a physical SIM card.
- To enable remote SIM provisioning, you will be authenticated by the operator (say Airtel) using say a QR Code sent to you or other means.
- Further the information on Virtual SIM is rewritable which means you can decide to change operator.
- Further the smart phone can have ‘multiple virtual SIM’ facilities
New Modus Operandi
- The multiple e-SIMs has made it easier for travelers who may use multiple networks using a roaming e-sim along with their home-based operator.
- This makes it vulnerable for misuse by terror outfits to use operators of one country for terror operations in another country.
- This makes the process of tracing the phone call time-intensive and involves interaction between two sovereign countries and therefore cumbersome.