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Old 28th June 2013, 17:51   #121
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
My question is why this "change management" process being applied to sim swap. All they have to do is destroy old sim and issue new sim. The ONLY benefit I get is I can use it with microSIM compatible smartphone. How does switching to microSIM open new breaches in security? What extra features does the new microSIM unlock that miniSIM didn't have?
Agree here. It is a classic case of them using their seat instead of their brains. A standard SOP may be the culprit.
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Old 28th June 2013, 18:08   #122
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Agree here. It is a classic case of them using their seat instead of their brains. A standard SOP may be the culprit.
I was informed over the PM that Airtel uses the same SOP as the lost SIM case. They don't consider that you have a valid sim which are you surrendering.

That's reason for this travesty.
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Old 28th June 2013, 23:59   #123
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Hence the requirement - whether at AirTel or elsewhere. If you do find an operator that allows SIM Swaps to happen casually without verification, you should be worried.
I was in the same position as Samurai, As I shifted from Nokia E6 to Lumia 720 and needed a sim change. Idea guys just asked me for a photograph & address/identity proof and gave me the Micro Sim within 5 minutes. After about two hours my old phone stopped working and my new phone started working. They did not take the old sim its still with me.

Now I dont know whats the problem or security issue as in both the cases my mobile no. remains same.

Kiran

Last edited by kiren : 29th June 2013 at 00:02.
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Old 29th June 2013, 01:14   #124
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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I was informed over the PM that Airtel uses the same SOP as the lost SIM case. They don't consider that you have a valid sim which are you surrendering.

That's reason for this travesty.
You dont get it - its not your SIM or its current status they're verifying but the person walking in for the replacement, claiming to be the owner. Proof for having verified the ownership is required if there is an inquiry from the police about whether the replacement was given to the rightful owner, or if the customer happens to dispute the same.

If a person has hacked your online account for instance, all he requires is access to your mobile number for about 5 minutes to receive an OTP over SMS. Or to make a call to your boss and call him names, for instance. Your mobile number is your identity in more ways than you would care to know - until you have been hit by something like this.

You may choose to call this travesty for your own reasons, but those that have had their numbers compromised will appreciate this precaution.

PS: Over and Out.

Last edited by Steeroid : 29th June 2013 at 01:16.
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Old 29th June 2013, 07:35   #125
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

But he already has a sim and can hence do everything like getting an OTP!
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Old 29th June 2013, 09:50   #126
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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But he already has a sim and can hence do everything like getting an OTP!
Since you are a techie, you are able to see it very clearly like I do. But it is not the same for non-techies.

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You dont get it - its not your SIM or its current status they're verifying but the person walking in for the replacement, claiming to be the owner. Proof for having verified the ownership is required if there is an inquiry from the police about whether the replacement was given to the rightful owner, or if the customer happens to dispute the same.
You know the sad part? I actually get it. Just like I get it when Microsoft claims a bug as a feature.

I get it because I deal with this nonsense in my professional life all the time. Simply because this happens in any technical field all the time. This happens because technical decisions are taken by non-technical managers who don't want to admit they don't have a clue.

Let's consider this case. It is a pure engineering problem. The physical size of the plastic around the sim has changed. It has to be trimmed to fit into the new size. That's why there are sim cutters.

However, some older sims are not well centered, so sim cutters don't work on them. I had this problem with my wife's sim, which was really old. The mobile shop guy couldn't use the sim cutter, so I ended up doing it myself. But it didn't come out well, after many trial and error, it finally worked. That is why I was looking to swap the sim instead of cutting.

If Airtel had relied on an engineer to design the sim swap process, he would have done it like this. He would know that the customer is presenting an ID, a working sim card. That sim can be slipped into a phone and the number can be verified by either calling from that number, or by calling into that number. Once the identity/validity of the sim is verified, destroy that mini sim in front of the customer, issue him a new micro sim against the same number. Customer presented a valid ID as a big sim, and you replace the same with smaller sim.

But bureaucrats thinks differently. Here they are ignoring the fact that the customer is actually presenting an ID, a working sim. A sim that can do everything that a new sim can do, except fit into a phone with smaller sim holder. Ignoring this huge fact, lets them use an existing process. The process that is used for issuing a new sim in case of theft or damage. A case where old sim doesn't exist, a case where customer is not presenting a working sim as ID. By doing this, the bureaucrat doesn't have to create another process for this sim swap, he can reuse an existing process. In the mind of a bureaucrat, this is efficiency, he re-used a process. It sounds like a smart idea, isn't? What an idea sirjee!

But what about the customer, this is not efficient for him. He is treated like he lost or damaged the sim. Just because a bureaucrat was lazy to create a new process for sim-swap, now every customer who wants a smaller sim gets a run-around.
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Old 29th June 2013, 12:41   #127
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
But he already has a sim and can hence do everything like getting an OTP!
One final try - if you try to objectively analyse the possibility of another person gaining access to your number with intent to cause trouble, you might understand. Device replacement is an easy way of spoofing identity, hence the controls around the same.

ICICI Bank has explained this step-by-step for their customers. When a Bank provides you tips for what is essentially a telecom service, you can appreciate that this is for real and not a figment of somebody's imagination

http://www.icicibank.com/online-safe...g/simswap.html

And not just in India:

http://www.absa.co.za/Absacoza/Secur...cams/SIM-Swaps

http://www.fico.com/en/Company/News/...echnology.aspx

There are even solutions for banks to manage the problem:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/worlds...111800223.html

http://www.realwire.com/releases/Wor...nking-industry


I will ignore Samurai's views on processes, because that sort of attitude keeps people like me in business. I do not wish to interrupt someone who might be creating business.

Disclaimer: I do not work for AirTel or any telecom operator.

Last edited by Steeroid : 29th June 2013 at 12:52.
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Old 29th June 2013, 13:06   #128
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Steroid, my point is simple.
why would some one (bad guy) need to get a micro sim if the regular sim he has is already working.


I am referring to this specific user case.
There is working regular sim.
Customer (good guy) wants to replace it with a micro sim.
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Old 29th June 2013, 13:34   #129
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Steroid, my point is simple.
why would some one (bad guy) need to get a micro sim if the regular sim he has is already working.
The fundamental mistake in that 'simple' point is the assumption that "bad guy" is walking in to replace own SIM. "Bad guy" doesnt use own SIM for Fraud for the simple reason that he isnt trying to commit fraud on himself - that would be rather pointless, wouldnt it? He would, for instance, try to get hold of bblost's SIM. Or preferably Samurai's.

Again, if 'Bad Guy' already has access to your SIM he wouldnt waste time trying to replace it. There are several more productive things for him to do in the short time window he has before you realize your SIM isnt working, and lodge a complaint.

PLEASE READ THE LINKS POSTED - THEY ARE SELF-EXPLANATORY. I really cannot see how this is so difficult to understand.

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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I am referring to this specific user case.
There is working regular sim.
Customer (good guy) wants to replace it with a micro sim.
The status (working or otherwise), size or type of SIM does not matter - its not the SIM that is being verified here, but the person who is walking in to replace it. The fact that you have possession does not mean that you are the owner.

In other words, the process exists to ascertain that the one walking in for a device replacement is indeed the owner of the line - how does the person sitting in the shop know that the customer is indeed who he says he is? And more importantly, how does he prove it to someone else when questioned on the replacement? It does not matter if the customer is a good guy or a bad guy - its not character or intent thats being assessed here, but ownership.

The reason for device replacement does not matter - whatever be the reason, "device replacement" means the replacement of the serial on the network with another that is given to the customer.

Therefore the reason for replacement or the size, type of device being sought does not affect the replacement process. All that is required is the verification of the person's identity - that process of verification depends on external factors like documentation requirement from law enforcement.


I have repeated myself endlessly, and have violated my own policy on online debates because this is an area of interest. I'm out of this thread.

Last edited by Steeroid : 29th June 2013 at 14:00.
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Old 29th June 2013, 14:39   #130
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Again, if 'Bad Guy' already has access to your SIM he wouldnt waste time trying to replace it. There are several more productive things for him to do in the short time window he has before you realize your SIM isnt working, and lodge a complaint.
Exactly.

If a guy walks in with a regular working SIM and needs that to be replaced with a micro SIM. The entire purpose of this Validation exercise is basically absurd.

Now if a process is really needed.
There is very simple and user friendly way to do it.

1. We submit a photo when we get a connection.
2. Upload the picture into an online portal.
3. When a user walks in with a regular SIM and wants it to be replaced with a micro sim.
4. Check that uploaded photo. Verify if its the same guy by looking at it and also ask for secondary proof like a driving license or anything with a picture on it.
5. For further proof take another picture of the customer receiving the new SIM.
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Old 29th June 2013, 15:01   #131
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Let's consider this case.

But what about the customer, this is not efficient for him. He is treated like he lost or damaged the sim. Just because a bureaucrat was lazy to create a new process for sim-swap, now every customer who wants a smaller sim gets a run-around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Steroid, my point is simple.
why would some one (bad guy) need to get a micro sim if the regular sim he has is already working.
@Samurai / @bblost,
You guys are quite correct in your musings but you are missing out an important aspect. You are not considering all scenarios. For e.g. lets' have some negative hypothetical situation(s)

You: The customer
Me: The fraudster
Assumption: I have a copy (fake/soft/printout/xerox) of your id(s) obtained by some other means.

Situation 1: I head to the mobile operator shop, explain that my mobile was lost/misplaced and request a new sim. I provide your basic id(s) and obtain the new sim

Situation 2: I head to the mobile operator shop, show them a damaged/broken/partially cut sim (that is not working) and request a new sim. I provide your basic id(s) and obtain the new sim.


Do I agree with Airtel's botched up process to handle a sim change? No. Absolutely not. I consider them the worst operator in all aspects, customer friendliness being the worst of them all.

Yes, having a detailed FAQ online/at the stores explaining what is needed for a sim swap (or a new sim) might go a long way. Or providing the additional services (xerox facilities) at the store itself. But you have to understand this is Airtel we are talking about. They (literally) suck at customer service.

P.s. You might be able to find work-arounds for the above scenario, but the point is it's not a fool-proof option for the operator. Plus the new sim approach is well-established, known to the attendants at the stores, and cost-effective (obviously).

Disclaimer : I used to be a techie

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Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
I have repeated myself endlessly, and have violated my own policy on online debates because this is an area of interest. I'm out of this thread.
Thanks for the links. But you need to lighten up and not take these discussions that seriously

OT Any data/reports on sim-swap fraud cases in India? This is interesting stuff.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Exactly.

If a guy walks in with a regular working SIM and needs that to be replaced with a micro SIM. The entire purpose of this Validation exercise is basically absurd.

Now if a process is really needed.
There is very simple and user friendly way to do it.

1. We submit a photo when we get a connection.
2. Upload the picture into an online portal.
3. When a user walks in with a regular SIM and wants it to be replaced with a micro sim.
4. Check that uploaded photo. Verify if its the same guy by looking at it and also ask for secondary proof like a driving license or anything with a picture on it.
5. For further proof take another picture of the customer receiving the new SIM.
Excellent approach. But it's easier & cost-effective for the operator to re-use the new sim process (as mentioned by @samurai).

Last edited by ninjatalli : 29th June 2013 at 15:02.
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Old 29th June 2013, 15:17   #132
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
One final try - if you try to objectively analyse the possibility of another person gaining access to your number with intent to cause trouble, you might understand. Device replacement is an easy way of spoofing identity, hence the controls around the same.

ICICI Bank has explained this step-by-step for their customers. When a Bank provides you tips for what is essentially a telecom service, you can appreciate that this is for real and not a figment of somebody's imagination

http://www.icicibank.com/online-safe...g/simswap.html
Duh! They are talking about the case where the requester doesn't have the original working sim. We are not talking about that.

You see the disconnect here? Techies like bblost and I are able to separate the use case of requester having a sim and not having a sim. You are merging both cases as one, like not having sim.

If the bad guy got hold of a sim, he can do all the damage without swapping it. He doesn't have to apply for a sim-swap.

Ah, I just realised that these mobile companies use the term sim-swap in case of re-issuing lost/damaged sim. May be that is why they can't see the difference between that term and the actual sim-swap where the old working sim is returned. Typical bureaucracy.
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Old 29th June 2013, 23:52   #133
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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You see the disconnect here? Techies like bblost and I are able to separate the use case of requester having a sim and not having a sim. You are merging both cases as one, like not having sim.
You have summed up the problem with security theater. Its being run by guys in suites, who need to form a policy to show that they are doing something to combat the big bad boogeyman who will steal our souls and make us slaves.
So you have silly policies.
Do not click a picture of a dam.
Do not take your camera near international border.
Do you have GPS? You are evil.
Satellite phone OMG EVIL EVIL EVIL

So we get a bunch of hair brained policies, which means that a non criminal like you and me has to run around for simple stuff, while the criminals are able to get their jobs done. I mean somebody who is willing to bring in explosive into the country and plant it somewhere is not going to be scared because govt said no sim without id proof, or no satellite phone. But with this policy the innocent trekker went to remote area without it, and died because he was unable to call anyone for help.

This kind of silly security theater exists everywhere. Policies are made because some idiotic non techie wants to show he is doing something, learns a few buzzwords, makes a few policies, and everybody is assured that somebody is doing something!
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Old 30th June 2013, 00:42   #134
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
There is very simple and user friendly way to do it.

1. We submit a photo when we get a connection.
2. Upload the picture into an online portal.
3. When a user walks in with a regular SIM and wants it to be replaced with a micro sim.
4. Check that uploaded photo. Verify if its the same guy by looking at it and also ask for secondary proof like a driving license or anything with a picture on it.
5. For further proof take another picture of the customer receiving the new SIM.
I had the same idea yesterday but looks like you haven't read the Thread Title

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Duh! They are talking about the case where the requester doesn't have the original working sim. We are not talking about that.

You see the disconnect here? Techies like bblost and I are able to separate the use case of requester having a sim and not having a sim. You are merging both cases as one, like not having sim.

If the bad guy got hold of a sim, he can do all the damage without swapping it. He doesn't have to apply for a sim-swap.

Ah, I just realised that these mobile companies use the term sim-swap in case of re-issuing lost/damaged sim. May be that is why they can't see the difference between that term and the actual sim-swap where the old working sim is returned. Typical bureaucracy.
The thing I understand from your and Steeroid's posts is that even though it's quite logical that only a rightful owner will go to the Airtel Store to change a sim card (ever heard about thieves going to Police Station to report FIR's ? ) but these companies don't think logically. They only operate within their rules like a robot.


But see from Airtel's angle too. They need to confirm that you are the rightful owner before giving the sim to you because they will be held responsible, if they gave it to some wrong person. Just think about it, if your phone has been stolen and you find out that the thief went to Airtel Store (hypothetically, before you could block your sim) and the Geniuses at the store gave him a new Micro-Sim card in exchange of your old sim, what will be your reaction be ? *Facepalm*

Am not saying they should not confirm your proof of identity, but they should not do so in such a way that makes you seriously mad at them. It has to be friendly like bblost said.

Quote:
Satellite phone OMG EVIL EVIL EVIL
The biggest irony is that same Govt which banned Satellite Phones is now distributing them in Uttarakhand. It happens only in India.
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Old 30th June 2013, 06:34   #135
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Default Re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
@Samurai / @bblost,
You guys are quite correct in your musings but you are missing out an important aspect. You are not considering all scenarios. For e.g. lets' have some negative hypothetical situation(s)

You: The customer
Me: The fraudster
Assumption: I have a copy (fake/soft/printout/xerox) of your id(s) obtained by some other means.

Situation 1: I head to the mobile operator shop, explain that my mobile was lost/misplaced and request a new sim. I provide your basic id(s) and obtain the new sim

Situation 2: I head to the mobile operator shop, show them a damaged/broken/partially cut sim (that is not working) and request a new sim. I provide your basic id(s) and obtain the new sim.
I am not missing this point. Both the cases you mention, you are not returning a working sim. In that case, I am all for full-fledged verification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Do not click a picture of a dam.
Do not take your camera near international border.
I have never understood these rules. They only have good intentions on paper, but never good implementations in reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo_Charger View Post
Just think about it, if your phone has been stolen and you find out that the thief went to Airtel Store (hypothetically, before you could block your sim) and the Geniuses at the store gave him a new Micro-Sim card in exchange of your old sim, what will be your reaction be ? *Facepalm*
Forget my reaction, what will this sim-swap enable him to do? He can cause the same damage without sim swap.
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