A visually impaired man considered legally blind has been convicted for violating Airtel Zambia sim replacement protocol and syphoning money from post-paid accounts amounting to over $3,500.
According to IT Web Africa, Jairos Tembo was arrested last year after he used unknown software to access Airtel’s database before committing a number of crimes. The court convicted him of seven counts of unauthorised access to Airtel’s database.
Our reliable sources claim that the blind hacker was so highly tactful in his fraudulent activity that it took a special team of highly skilled investigators to finally nail him. The affected customers told the court that their calls had been jammed and that airtime was mysteriously vanishing from their accounts.
***Update*** We have just learned the exact way in which Tembo carried out the airtime theft. According to our source, Tembo was specifically targeting high-profile Airtel clientèle by acquiring their phone numbers. He would then call the phone numbers from three different phone numbers in order to have those calls logged. After calling, he would immediately request a SIM replacement for the high-profile phone number to be transferred to his own. At this stage, Tembo would transfer all the airtime via Me2U and then sell it to unsuspecting customers. The process of requesting for a SIM replacement would deactivate the high-profile client’s own number and this is what caused the “jamming”. Upon reactivation of the SIM card, the client would discover that they had Zero Kwacha of airtime in the account.
Simple yet sophisticated. The reason that the blind hacker would call three times was to easily validate the victim’s call records by identifying the last three numbers in the call log. This was usually the only step required for sim replacement back in the day.
Now it makes sense why the so called hacker was able to steal so much airtime despite not being able to C++. FYI, there was no coding involved in this scheme. Perhaps this is why the IT Web Africa article is not clear on the unknown software used during the crime.
The victims of the theft include the former Minister of Defence Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), Kabwata MP Given Lubinda and Steve Nyirenda, a business executive and proprietor of Muvi television station.
Magistrate Aridah Chuulu said that investigations that were carried out revealed that the blind hacker was the owner of the phone number which was receiving the syphoned airtime from people’s phones.
Apparently, the investigations also revealed that the blind hacker’s phone number which he was using to steal the airtime was not registered in his name but registered under the name of a dealer who does not exist. As a result, the magistrate said she was satisfied with the evidence against Jairos Tembo.
Sentencing has however been reserved until tomorrow, 9th April 2014, because the magistrate said she needs to study Tembo’s previous convictions in order to sentence him. Meanwhile Tembo maintains that he is innocent against all charges brought against him. At some point he was in Namibia and committed undisclosed crimes of which he was convicted and served time for.
If a blind man could hack Airtel Zambia, I wonder what would happen if somebody who wasn’t visually impaired did the same? Rob them blind perhaps!
Image credit: Skreened