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Thursday, August 9, 2012

'Clone' SMS baffles cops

Dolly was cloned but she was only a sheep. Scientists have had no such luck with humans so far. So it is baffling that Delhi resident Swapna Paul has a 'clone'. Swapna has not seen her 'clone' but for the last two years her ' double' has been sending threatening messages to her father on his cellphone.

In a real adaptation of Karthik Calling Karthik , the messages are being sent from Swapna's mobile number, freaking out both father and daughter. Clearly, she didn't send the messages. Who- sent- it? The Delhi Police's cyber cell is working to solve the case, surely one of the toughest assignments they have handled.

No breakthrough has been made but the police have given a clean chit to Indian scientists and suspect that some mischief- seekers have cloned Swapna's mobile phone and shooting the messages.

The messages warn that Swapna should leave her job as a teacher at a private school in Noida. Or she would be killed. Swapna's father S. K. Mazumdar, a former employee of Doordarshan, said he had been ignoring the messages for a long time as he hoped that they would stop automatically. Finally when the situation went from bad to worse, he approached the police, who are conducting a technical investigation.

Mazumdar receives two types of messages: one, threatening his daughter and the other offering a solution with the name of a Hindu deity written at the end of the message. "The second SMS says that if I follow the instructions in the message, nothing wrong would happen to my daughter," he wrote in the police complaint. Officers at the cyber cell are baffled by this complaint. "It is possible that somebody has cloned Swapna's SIM. If a message is sent from a particular number without the person sending it, it is apparent that the number has been cloned. It is also possible that some mischievous person who wants to trouble the family is sending them messages from a website.

There are a number of websites that can be used for this purpose," a police officer said. Cyber crime expert Pawan Duggal told MAIL TODAY : "It is very likely that this is a case of SIM card cloning. When a SIM card is cloned, all the information on one card is copied on another without the permission of the user. A number of softwares are freely available online for such cloning purposes." "Generally, a SIM card is cloned to steal money from a person's account using his personal information. But in this particular case, it is possible that the person who has cloned the SIM card is trying to misguide and confuse the family by sending them messages with a threat and solution to the threat. Using an Indian deity's name in the messages could be just a way of reinforcing their belief in supernatural power, so that they do not suspect a technical angle in it," Duggal added.


Cloning a SIM card: If a person entertains a call from an unknown number starting with + 92 or + 90, it is likely that his number will be cloned if the call lasts for over five seconds. Cloning has been shown to be successful on CDMA but rare on GSM. GSM SIM cards can be only copied by removing the SIM card. Then a device, placed between the handset and the SIM card, has to be allowed to operate for a few days and extracting the secret code.

What does the law say about cloning: If a person clones a SIM card and misuses the number, he can be booked under Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act 2000. Under this Act, a person sending any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages can be booked.

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