The Null Device

You know those unique, world-wide serial numbers mobile phones have to make stolen phones unusable, and which you should write down just in case? Well, don't bother. Don't waste your time; the numbers can be easily changed, with little more than a laptop, a cable and some software. Some crims even have their stolen handsets rigged to change the number every time the phone is used.

(Digression: apparently it is possible to replace the firmware inside most mobile phones with hacked versions, much in the way that car hackers can reprogram their BMWs' engine controllers; how much effort is required, I do not know. I can think of some neat (and benign) applications for this; having a phone display the relative strengths of several nearby base stations would be somewhat cool, in a somewhat trainspotterish sort of way.)

Though, just from following a search query, it seems that unlocking stolen phones and changing serial numbers is so trivially easy that any petty thief with a PC could do it. Which is rather stupid on the part of whoever designed the system.

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