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The actions of movie gangsters stealing peoples phones, cloning them, then getting complete control of the phone has become real not fiction.

A crime ring operating for five years has been busted selling about 30,000 stolen cell phone codes a month, and netting at least $675,000 a month, according to French authorities. Investigators said that fraudsters purchased codes to unlock SIM cards for about $4 each from phone company employees who had access to company databases. The codes were sold online for about $40. After nearly a year of investigation, French police have busted a ring of mobile phone hackers, whose members included employees of cellular phone companies. The ring had been operating for five years, selling about 30,000 stolen cell phone codes a month, and netting at least $675,000 a month, according to French authorities. Investigators said that fraudsters purchased codes to unlock SIM cards for about $4 each from phone company employees who had access to company databases. The codes were sold online for about $40. Why were the codes worth so much? With the codes, criminals could access any SIM card, including foreign cards, with their mobile phones, creating a cascade of fraud from unauthorized calls to outright identity theft. A Subscriber Identity Module or SIM card contains a unique serial number, an internationally unique number of the mobile user, security authentication and ciphering information, and a list of the services the user has access to. A stolen SIM card―whether that's the physical card or simply the code― gives the holder all of the privileges of the phone's owner and access to passwords that could unlock more than just the phone. The digital theft is often difficult to detect. "The first sign that you are not in control of your SIM card is usually when someone else contacts you that fraud is being committed using your phone," John Sileo, author of "Think Like a Spy: Identity Theft Protection and Recovery," who has advised the U.S. Department of Defense and the FDIC, said. And the damage can be extensive. If you suspect your SIM card has been compromised: - Take the card out of the phone immediately so that it can no longer be used. - Take the card and the phone to your wireless service provider and tell them what you suspect. - Even if it's not conclusive, make sure that you obtain a new SIM card. - If you sync the phone with a piece of software, make sure that you don't reintroduce malware when you sync your new SIM card (and phone) back to the old software.
21/02/2013