SIM swapping attacks, a fraudulent method of taking over internet accounts by means of exploiting two-factor authentication, are a growing concern among information security specialists. For providers of wireless telecommunications services, SIM swapping can be extremely embarrassing because it involves social engineering attacks perpetrated against customer service representatives in order to hack accounts, thus leaving egg on the faces of service providers.
FIX Network, a tech startup dedicated to improving wireless communications security, recently announced a partnership that will improve defenses against SIM swapping attacks. The agreement with NEM, a respected blockchain platform, aims to protect the private keys embedded in subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. NEM has been around since 2015; it is a peer-to-peer blockchain network coded in Java that has its own digital currency token, but the platform is mostly focused on smart contract and identity security applications.
What executives at FIX Network intend to develop through the SYMBOL protocol developed by NEM is a method to establish unique identities tied to SIM cards. The SYMBOL protocol can efficiently manage private key transactions between various blockchain networks, and this is something crucial for a future that envisions widespread adoption of digital wallets. Similar to the successful M-PESA digital cash system that has been used in Kenya for years, SYMBOL stores and keeps track of unique keys securely coded into SIM cards; in other words, passwords and secret codes will no longer need to be stored in mobile apps or in the cloud.
With more than 8 billion active SIM cards around the world, there is a strong need to create a secure digital infrastructure to protect them. The FIX Network will start out with a modest run of 10,000 SIM cards featuring a secure ID system managed by the SYMBOL protocol. The company already provides blockchain apps to manage international roaming agreements for wireless services, but executives anticipate greater demand for SIM security solutions.
The FIX Network is a company headquartered in Israel and Lithuania. One of the products currently offered to consumers is a future-proof SIM card that is already compatible with features and standards that will likely be implemented around the world over the next few years.