back to article Soldiers bust massive click-farm that used 500k SIM cards, 100s of mobes to big up web tat

A massive click-fraud farm has been raided in Thailand by police and army troops, who seized nearly half a million SIM cards and hundreds of iPhones used to promote products online. The raid on two rented houses in Ban Mai Nong Sai in the Aranyaprathet District led to the arrest of three Chinese suspects: Wang Dong, 33, Niu …

  1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Too bad for the perps that they are Chinese. Were they born in USA, they could hope to become President.

    1. Haku
  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    and 347,200 SIM cards

    Now that's big data - LOL, LOL, ROFL etc

    Buying 350K SIMs will end up with a common data point somewhere along the line. If nothing else, there will be rather a lot of extra registrations to a cell tower or two.

  3. DryBones

    347,000 Sim Cards...

    I'm just trying to imagine you you bloody organize them, that's got to be like a cubic foot of cards... Shake as needed for randomness?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 347,000 Sim Cards...

      Great point. I'd be very interested in a follow up to the story about how the alleged crime was orchestrated. E.g. how did they get so many active sims? How did they manage all of that from a technical software hardware perspective?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 347,000 Sim Cards...

        If I was to hazard a guess you can have 3 sims per iPhone (this may be more if they can be chained I don't know) and you can switch sim in ios (apparently). Therefore you would root the phone and write an app that is controlled by a control server, each device has it's own id so you would just write a loop to command each phone to do whatever you need it to do in one go. At 3 sims per phone that would be 1422 a pop. I guess they purchased pre-loaded cards that just activated on connection or bought them in bulk and wrote a script to activate and top up.

        Though yes it would be interesting to know but I can't see them releasing that information.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all the facts

    Keep in mind that this is propaganda from a (military) government. People are pretty unhappy because of slow economy so it likes to display foreigners to keep the own population quiet and tame. It's to distract from other issues and to keep face. A new SIM card would cost ฿3 ($0.10), and they don't write if they were actually registered for use or just unsold expired ones.

  5. Ishtiaq

    The name

    Wang Dong, WANG DONG, seriously? Words fail

    Cheers… Ishy

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dong, Bang and Wenjin

    Don't they make loud speakers?

  7. DougS Silver badge

    This makes no sense

    Why would you need SIM cards for a clickfarm? Just use wifi!

    Even if you did need them, why would you need almost 1000 SIM cards per phone? Who had the shitty job of "full time SIM swapper" at this outfit?

    I think there's more to this story, maybe something was lost in translation...

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: This makes no sense

      Why would you need SIM cards for a clickfarm? Just use wifi!

      Good luck with randomising that.. (yes, yes, you can use multiple VPNs or Tor, but even then all the reviews would still be coming from a suspiciously small set of addresses.)

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Meanwhile the hunt continues for the ring leader

    Officials say Suk Kok planned the operation.

    "It was running smoothly for moths, until now it has exploded in his face" said officials (via Google Translate).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile the hunt continues for the ring leader

      via Google Translate

      I'll be they have similar good fun with Western names - I would hope they do. Would any Chinese/Korean/Thai speakers be able to provide examples we can understand?

      1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile the hunt continues for the ring leader

        Served with a guy named Richard Holden. Every morning, "Holden, Dick! Front and center!"

        Does that count?

        1. ma1010 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Meanwhile the hunt continues for the ring leader

          How about the joke from The IT Crowd where she started to date a guy named Peter File? She broke up shortly after meeting him when she heard his name spoken out loud, as in "Is there a Peter File here?" Fellow Left-Pondians keep in mind the British pronunciation of "pedophile" is PEE-DUH-FILE.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    So someone has a 347 000 mobile phones in a 2 rented houses?

    True a modern phone is quite small, but when you have that many together...

    OTOH the cards are quite small.

    My instinct is someone has built custom racks with a lot of SIM slots in that time slice between a (relatively) small number of actual phones. Throughput then depends on how fast the phones can be made to swap cards in software.

    Another option would be such a rack with GMS modules, essentially phones without displays, microphones or speakers, used by things like drinks machines to let the HO know they've run out of cans.

    But SIM card swapping on this scale is going to be a real PITA.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: So someone has a 347 000 mobile phones in a 2 rented houses?

      Nope, from the video in this article, it's just a big old rack of phones. Presumably they picked something with multiple SIM slots.

      Also from the video, it looks like most of the SIMs were still boxed, either to be swapped in when the old ones were banned/out of credit, or perhaps they were planning to expand.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: So someone has a 347 000 mobile phones in a 2 rented houses?

        "Nope, from the video in this article, it's just a big old rack of phones. "

        Wow.

        Proving once again that Dexion has a million and one uses.

  10. herman Silver badge

    Well, what they were doing is not actually illegal. It is only how they were doing it that is illegal.

  11. Nifty

    A very suspect story. Were the perps hiding the fact they were running a DDOS operation?

  12. Mike Timbers

    Ok, weird scary personal link here! I own two houses in that very village! It's not even a backwater. Many of the houses are still made of corrugated iron. And this was going on there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I own two houses in that very village! "

      The police will be in touch soon.

    2. Grunchy

      Re: "I've got 2 houses in that very village!"

      I've got 9 computers, we should start a business venture...

      (just need 1 other guy with 500 iphones and 1 another guy with 375,000 sim cards, I reckon)

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