PTA to Implement LFD system to manage SIM frauds and Cybercrime

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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will use a live finger detector (LFD) technology to eliminate silicon thumbs and manage SIM card fraud and cybercrime.

Official records from the Interior Ministry showed that criminals have been detected using various methods to get unsuspecting individuals to transfer their hard-earned money into the imposter’s bank account.

Live Finger Detection (LFD) technology is based on an examination of the dynamic and static picture properties of the fake fingers, as well as how they differ from those of live fingers. Fake fingers are readily recognized from live fingers using an advanced analytic technique that detects irregularities in the dynamic shifting pattern of fingerprint photos, as well as various static aspects of the liveness or unnaturalness of fingers.

Live fingers naturally demonstrate changes in patterns of the area, intensity, and movement as they gradually make contact with the sensor surface, whereas fake fingers produce unnatural changing patterns of separated areas, partially dark areas, distorted boundary shapes, and large movements of the core part. This would aid in the capture of phoney fingerprints and forgeries.

Mobile SIMs, which are illegally activated using various techniques such as silicon thumb imprint, are major instruments utilized in these scams. Section 17 of the PECA-2016 mandates the PTA to check and monitor illicit SIM biometric verification (unauthorized issuance of SIM cards).

Furthermore, similar acts are addressed under PECA-2016 sections 13 (electronic forgery), 14 (electronic fraud), 16 (unauthorized use of identifying information), and 17 (problems of illicit SIMs).

According to the records, the FIA Cybercrime Wing (FIA-CCW), which is an investigating body, has taken substantial efforts in these cases.

During the current fiscal year, the FIA-CCW has received 21,259 accusations of financial fraud, which is a criminal violation under PECA-2016 sections 13 and 14. Out of 21,259 complaints, 3,894 were turned into regular investigations, 352 cases were lodged, and 415 suspects were detained. In 2021, CCW received 3,894 inquiries, 652 cases, and 703 arrests.

CCW FIA registered 33 instances this year, and 69 suspects were detained. In 2021, 22 cases were recorded and 53 people were detained under PECA-2016 Section 17 (issuance of unlawful SIM cards). Cases are being filed against the owners/users of such SIM cards under the relevant sections of the PECA-2016. In such situations as franchise owners, criminal procedures are also filed against the facilitator/abettor.

The records also stated that crackdown operations are being carried out on suppliers and buyers of silicon thumbs. To eliminate silicon thumbs, PTA will implement a live finger detector (LFD) device. A database of IMEIs has been established in order to identify and submit the mobile set to PTA for permanent banning.