Having your cell phone stolen (or stolen) in Brazil is desperate. The gangs not only take the device, but specialize in entering the victim’s social networks, messages and financial applications to carry out scams. The action takes place in minutes. The crooks already have a script ready that scans passwords and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, they use “double authentication factor” (SMS and email) to log into as many accounts as they can.
It is in the midst of an Pandemic of theft and robberies that the Ministry of Justice launched Celular Seguro last week. The service can be accessed via application or computer. The operation is simple. You register your cell phone numbers and then register the number of people you trust. If the device is stolen, you can use the account of the people you registered to generate an alert.
Once the alert has been made, the Ministry of Justice, which controls the service, undertakes to communicate to Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency), which, in turn, communicates to the operators to block the device using the Imei number. The deadline for blocking is 24 hours. Furthermore, the Ministry partnered with some financial institutions (Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Itaú, XP, etc.) which also committed to blocking the victim’s applications. The deadline varies, but is around 30 minutes after notification from the Ministry.
It is worth saying that Celular Seguro is a good initiative. But it’s not perfect. It depends on the efficiency of the Ministry of Justice in making quick communications and on its partners, Anatel and others, on also acting quickly. In this sense, its launch is based on an exaggerated promise. Of making the cell phone “a piece of metal with little value” in the criminal’s hands, words used by Ministry representatives at the launch.
This will not happen. Firstly, most of the cell phones stolen in Brazil are exported to be sold in other countries. In these cases, blocking the Imei is useless, as the block only applies to the country. Another point is that Celular Seguro is based on a chain of promises. There is no law regulating the service (which, by the way, would be a good idea). There are commitments whose legal nature is unclear. I tried to find the partnership terms signed with the Ministry’s partners to understand the actual obligations, but they do not appear to be available.
It also does not block other applications on the device, nor does it prevent it from continuing to access the network via WiFi. The user continues to bear all the burden of defending himself. In this sense, Celular Seguro is far from being the solution that solves everything. The Ministry’s communication should make this clear, instead of promising what it cannot deliver. Service is another line of defense, but it’s not even the first.
As a general balance, it is a project to be celebrated. He uses Gov.br intelligently, preventing fraud and once again showing the importance of this platform. Without it, Celular Seguro would not exist. Furthermore, it shows in practice that cybersecurity is carried out in a multisectoral way, with the government bringing the private sector, the third sector and the scientific community to the table (even though the latter are absent from the project). In short, would I use the service? Yes. With one eye closed and the other wide open.
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