In an attempt to restrict fraudulent use of mobile SIM cards by criminals and terrorists, telecom service providers in India are planning to introduce biometric authentication.
According to a Business Standard report, the push for full-proof verification is coming from Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who recently said the department of telecommunications (DoT) should institute a central database containing all mobile subscribers using biometric parameters.
Kumar’s suggested solution would require logging fingerprints, thumb impressions, or similar biometric identifier of each subscriber when they apply for a new connection. The police commissioner believes that physical verification of all applicants should be mandatory prior to activating the SIM.
If operators in India opt for tele-verification, SIM cards would be sent by registered mail only, a process that is already being used for the delivery of credit and debit cards. To further discourage fraudulent SIM card use, Kumar believes that stringent punishments should be levied in cases where service providers issue multiple SIM cards to the same customer application form number.
Kumar’s demands for SIM card security come in the wake of a number of emerging fraudulent tactics like SIM swapping.
A SIM swap sees a criminal obtain and use your replacement SIM card to acquire security messages and one-time passwords (OTP) sent to you by a bank or similar institution. Using that OTP, the criminal can then change account information, add beneficiaries and even transfer money out of your account using personal information that otherwise would have been acquired via phishing.
Kumar’s request has since been passed on to India’s home secretary with plans to implement the police commissioner’s suggestions.