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What you need to know about IMEI

As regards IMEI, the network’s ability to know a subscriber’s current, individual device enables many network and security features

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IT News Nigeria:

There are very important things to know about the trending International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number following President Muhammadu Buhari directives to the Nigerian Communications Commission that the Device Management System be implemented within three months, beginning July 2021.

According to Wikipedia, IMEI is a number, usually unique, to identify 3GPP and iDEN mobile phones, as well as some satellite phones. It is usually found printed inside the battery compartment of the phone, but can also be displayed on-screen on most phones by entering *#06# MMI Supplementary Service code on the dialpad, or alongside other system information in the settings menu on smartphone operating systems.

Why IMEI matters

GSM networks use the IMEI number to identify valid devices, and can stop a stolen phone from accessing the network. For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can have their network provider use the IMEI number to blocklist the phone. This renders the phone useless on that network and sometimes other networks, even if the thief changes the phone’s subscriber identity module (SIM).

Devices without a SIM card slot usually don’t have the IMEI code. However, the IMEI only identifies the device and has no particular relationship to the subscriber. The phone identifies the subscriber by transmitting the International mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number, which it stores on a SIM card that can, in theory, be transferred to any handset.

However, the network’s ability to know a subscriber’s current, individual device enables many network and security features.

The first time you launch a new smartphone and connect it to the Internet, the ‘MEI number will be sent to the network to verify that the device being used has not been stolen and is not subject to a blocking request

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During the sending, it is therefore verified within the EIR (Equipment Identity Register) that the device is not blacklisted. The IMEI number can also be used in criminal cases to allow the police to Verify that a call has been made to a specific physical device.

If your IMEI number becomes known to Someone with malicious intent, the main risks to consider are as follows: 

*Attempt to clone your device, Someone may attempt to use your IMEI number on a stolen smartphone.

If it connects to the network Of the same operator as yours, it is quite possible that the operator will blacklist both devices because he will not be able to know which device is the original.  Tracing, Someone with your IMEI number can potentially track your location anywhere in the world. Possible although difficult.  Fraud. Someone may attempt to make phone calls using  mobile account.

As far as you can use your mobile account to transfer money, they may try to do so as well.  Abuse Of trust. The person using your IMEI could impersonate you to send malicious SMS messages for example.

Within a text message, a web link could be inserted to facilitate a phishing attempt. Since the person receiving the SMS trusts you, they will be more likely to click on the link.  Identity theft.

By cloning your smartphone and relying on your IMEI number, hackers are potentially able to impersonate you on the operator’s and thus receive text messages intended for you. Since most banking and merchant sites use a double authentication code sent by SMS for payments, it becomes possible for hackers to take advantage of this.

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