Monkey picture passes Philippines SIM registration

Monkey picture passes Philippines SIM registration

The Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found a flaw in the country’s new SIM registration system, by using a photo of an animal to successfully register for a SIM card.

NBI Cybercrime division chief Jeremy Lotoc detailed in a senate hearing the bureau tried to register for SIM cards with several operators on September 4 as part of its investigation, CNN Philippines reported.

The bureau used a picture of a monkey under different names, finding it easy to fabricate a government ID card online with any picture. It did not disclose which operators it was able to gain approval from. 

Globe Telecom head of policy Ariel Tubayan said it would be easier for telcos to use a fully implemented national ID system with biometrics to prevent such fraudulent activity.  

“That’s the best practice and all countries that have implemented SIM registration — they have slotted first the national ID before they went into SIM registration,” said Tubayan.

DITO Telecommunity stated its SIM registration portal would not permit a picture of an animal to be processed.

Smart Communication head of regulatory affairs Roy Ibay said the operator will investigate similar cases in its systems, and that glitches may occur in its optical character recognition technology, particularly with the rush to make the SIM registration deadline.

Senator Grace Poe said the blame does not lie with one party and that nations are in a constant race to keep up with rapidly developing technologies, but admitted it was “insult to injury” to see a picture of a smiling monkey bypass systems.

Poe pushed for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to amend the implementing rules and regulations of the SIM Registration Act, NTC Commissioner Ella Lopez said the body will comply and add the new issues in the reformation of the SIM Registration Act.

DITO and Smart have already submitted proposals to the NTC for the post-registration validation mechanism.

Since September 3 there have been 118,908,469 registered SIMs nationwide, and the commission received 45,697 complaints related to scams, noted Lopez.

Globe Telecom today (September 6) put its support behind the pending Anti-Money Mule and Financial Fraud bills, which will punish cyber criminals with imprisonment. 

Ernest Cu, Globe Group president and CEO said: "I think that will put a lot of teeth into the things that we are doing against scammers because if your name is implicated, then you can be an accessory to the crime. Right now people do not value or do not put a lot of emphasis on their identity being used in crimes.”

Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.