Seizure of SIM boxes in Kolkata raises fears of major international crime
Calcutta: The Calcutta Special Task Force arrested three people, including a Bangladeshi national, in the airport area on September 2 and recovered at least 23 SIM boxes, with a storage capacity of 256 SIM slots from different locations , 400 pre-activated SIM cards, WiFi modems from various service providers, laptops and other communication equipment from them.
The arrests and subsequent recovery opened up a Pandora’s Box exposing an international SIM box-based communications racketeering across the state that routes international phone calls as local calls, which are billed by mobile service providers. local. SIM boxes, also known as SIM banks, are usually equipped with a few hundred GSM SIM cards that are used to route calls through functional data devices.
Cyber experts say a SIM box works like a virtual phone and senior police officers investigating the case have expressed serious concern that such illegal exchanges could serve as “secret channels” and threaten security. while potentially depriving network providers of legitimate revenue. According to cyber experts, a SIM box contains a number of SIM cards linked to a gateway, but stored separately, which makes it difficult to locate and identify the origin of telephone calls.
What is SIM box technology?
SIM box technology is used to route international calls as local calls.
Each box contains hundreds of GSM SIM cards. Thanks to this technology, the box operator is able to bypass international tariffs charged by local mobile network operators and also poses a significant risk to national security.
Calls rerouted via a SIM box will be masked by a local number.
Even a single SIM box is capable of routing thousands of questionable international calls every day, which shows the gravity of the situation.
According to sources, callers made several attempts to find out about the location and movement of army contingents in the state of West Bengal. The activity was detected when military officials in Siliguri reported the suspicious nature of the calls to the hotline.
More threatening is that in the last 20 days, the STF has managed to arrest seven other people in this setting, including three in Calcutta, one from Nadia, one from Odisha and a Bangladeshi national found in North 24 Parganas.
“We arrested a person using three active SIM boxes with 512 slots with 73 active SIM cards for mobile phones. It was using technology to end international subscriber dialing (ISD) and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) by bypassing the international gateways of national service providers, ”said a senior STF official.
Police arrested another identified person from the Baranagar area in North 24 Parganas. A large number of SIM cards and SIM boxes were recovered from him.
This is the second time in a year that a SIM box racket has been dismantled in Bengal. In December last year, city police dismantled a similar racketeering after receiving information from the Lucknow-based Military Intelligence Unit.
“The revelations constitute a threat to national security and we have informed the Union Ministry of the Interior of the development of the situation. We are also trying to find out if there is a terrorist connection to all of this. Those arrested are being questioned for their exact plans and details, ”the officer said.