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Chinese Mobile Company Vivo Made Over 13,000 Phones With Same IMEI Number; What Is IMEI Number and How Duplication Affects

Team Latestly

New Delhi, June 6: Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is in trouble after the cybercrime cell unit of Meerut Police busted a security breach in which the firm had made over 13,000 smartphones with the same International Mobile Equipment Number (IMEI) number. This comes as a major setback for Vivo, which is among the top five smartphone sellers in India. The police has registered a case against the company for running thousands of smartphones on the same IMEI, which is a 15-digit code that is unique to every smartphone.

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The breach surfaced after a sub-inspector in Meerut city of Uttar Pradesh noticed that the IMEI number on the mobile phone box was different from the one on the device. Reports inform that the sub-inspector gave his mobile phone to the staff at cybercrime cell for examination and as the phone failed to work properly despite being repaired at a Vivo service centre in Meerut.  According to a report by Mint, Akhilesh N. Singh, Additional Superintendent of Police (City), Meerut confirmed that the smartphones were made by Vivo and said cases have been registered under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). EventBot: Mobile Banking Android Malware Horsing Around in Cyberspace.

What is IMEI number:

The IMEI number is a 15-digit code that is unique to every smartphone which includes information on the origin, model, and serial number of the device. It is usually found printed inside the battery compartment of the phone. The IMEI number of any phone can be displayed on-screen on most phones by entering *#06# on the dial-pad. The number is used to uniquely identify a mobile device, hence it is mandatory for every smartphone to have a unique IMEI number.

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Use of IMEI number

The main aim of the IMEI numbers is to help track down and secure lost or stolen phones. When the phone is stolen, the IMEI number is shared with the provider with every connection your phone makes. The TRAI, in its new rule has stated that a single IMEI number cannot be active on more than one mobile number.

Here's What IMEI Duplication Leads to

If the IMEI number is same for several mobile phone, the GSM networks that use the IMEI number to identify valid devices, will not be able to track the phone if it is stolen. The network on the phone cannot be accessed as a number of smartphones would have the same IMEI number.  The basic information that an IMEI number holds is all about the device.

In 2017, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its notification had said that all smartphones would have a unique IMEI number, failure to which in the form of manipulation or tampering could lead to a three-year jail. The unique IMEI makes it possible for the user to track and blacklist the phone if it is stolen. This renders the phone useless on that network and sometimes other networks, even if the thief changes the phone's subscriber identity module (SIM).

In the last month, Vivo had revamped its logo by adding a ''Make In India'' design that will be printed on the box of all the phones it will sell in the country  The Chinese firm had last year committed to investing Rs 7,500 crore towards manufacturing mobile devices in India.