SIM card thefts result in chaos on Johannesburg roads

Like a scene from The Italian Job, traffic in Johannesburg South Africa has been brought to a standstill by a tech failure. But in this case the culprits are thieves who have been cracking open the city's traffic lights, to steal the valuable SIM cards contained within.

The Johannesburg Roads Agency installed 600 of the cards as part of a high-tech traffic control system, that coordinates information about traffic conditions and malfunctioning signals. The problem is that thieves have been targeting the SIM cards to use as "burners", allowing them to make unlimited anonymous cellphone calls. More than 2/3 of the SIM card equipped lights have been hit, some for a second time following a $3,000 repair job.

Authorities say that the bandits must have inside information, as only the SIM card equipped lights have been hit, and not their identical looking low-tech neighbors. Authorities have blocked all of the stolen cards making them useless, but the culprits remain at large.

The Guardian, via PopSci

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