Shutting Down Rogue IoT SIMs Fast

June 21, 2022
Written by
Reviewed by

Shutting down Rogue SIMs Fast

This is Part 2 of our series on Efficient SIM Management. Missed Part 1? Read up on it here: IoT Fleet Management: Simplify SIM Updates

In the world of large-scale IoT deployments, it is critical to be able to quickly identify and shut down a single device that may have been compromised.

Let’s imagine that you are a fleet operator working for an environmental research company. Your business manufactures hundreds of sensors and deploys these around the Mississippi River. Collectively, these sensors monitor the river level, informing a team of researchers whether the level is high or low. Every hour, your sensors wake up, record how high the river is, send this data to your cloud, and then go back to sleep to conserve battery power.

One unfortunate day, a thief steals a SIM card located in one of your sensors. They have plugged this SIM card into their iPad and are now streaming Netflix on it. With every minute that they are streaming video, your data usage costs are shooting through the roof.

Now, the question is – even before the thief got a hold of your SIM, did you ensure that protective measures were enforced to limit the damage that compromised devices might have on your data usage costs? Do you have a convenient mechanism for identifying suspicious devices, perhaps by flagging those that have connected to an unexpected network in an unforeseen location? Is there an easy way to isolate outliers from your trend data and quickly shut them down?

Protecting your IoT SIMs from misuse

Twilio’s Super SIM provides protective measures so that you don’t have to worry about letting a rogue SIM run rampant for a prolonged period.

First, either on Console or via API, you can configure a data limit for a certain Fleet. This enforces that all Super SIMs assigned to that Fleet won’t exceed the given threshold within a single billing period, which usually lasts one month.

Second, using Connection Events, you can easily subscribe to Super SIM events that matter the most to your business. You can create software that could generate alerts to notify your system in near real-time of events like when a device has come online, what network a device has attached to, how much data a device has consumed, and if a SIM has been detached from the device it was originally installed to.

Third, with Usage Insights in Console (found in the Monitor > Insights > Super SIM page), you get a digestible overview on the health of all your devices. On the Usage by Time tab, you can see a bar graph that breaks down your Super SIM usage by timestamp over a user-specified duration. On this graph, you might notice an anomalous spike in data usage on a particular day, indicating potential misuse. You are then able to click on the date hyperlink in the bar chart to zoom in to an hour-by-hour breakdown.

Console Workflow 1

After you have identified the exact hour in which the anomalous spike had occurred, you might wonder which of your Super SIMs contributed to the high usage. Usage Insights makes this really easy by allowing you to switch views from Usage by Time to Usage by SIM. Clicking on the 3-dot menu on the rightmost column opens a dropdown menu that allows you to “drill down” on that particular row. Then, clicking on Usage by SIM in the dropdown will take you to a per-SIM breakdown, simultaneously applying the selected row as an additional date range filter.

Console Workflow 2

The entries in the Usage by SIM tab are sorted, and we can clearly see that it was the SIM appearing in the first row that caused the unexpected spike in usage. Again, Console makes it easy to follow-up by shutting this SIM down. To do so, simply navigate to the SIM’s details page and switch its status from “Active” to “Inactive”.

Console Workflow 3

…And that’s it!


In conclusion, Super SIM features make it quick and easy to identify rogue SIMs and shut them down. Such features allow your business to shift its focus away from actively monitoring tens of thousands of devices and towards delivering high-value differentiated products to your own customers.

Interested in Super SIM? Here are some resources to help you get started:

  • Sign up here to get a free Super SIM shipped to you today
  • View an interactive demo of the Super SIM platform

Miko Bautista has been a Product Manager on the IoT and Wireless team at Twilio for 2 years. In his past life, Miko worked as a Software Engineer on voice assistant and home automation technology. He is captivated by solutions to real-world problems that lie in the intersection of the physical and digital domains.

This is Part 2 of our series on Efficient SIM Management. Missed Part 1? Read up on it here: IoT Fleet Management: Simplify SIM Updates