Hackers Steal Cryptocurrencies via Changing Phone Numbers
There is a high risk of robbery wherever something valuable is present. Hence the people have entrusted their worthwhile things to a trustworthy person from a long time ago, though it then was undertaken by the banks.
Nowadays the robberies are totally different. You can scarcely see a robber covering his face breaking into someone’s home and stealing his/her money and jewelry, especially in the current digital world with a gradual disappearing physical nature of paper money that makes this type of robbery no more practical. Although cryptocurrencies sometimes face a sharp drop, they are replacing paper money through developing themselves. The fact that many governments have turned to release their own cryptocurrency bears out the claim that the cryptocurrencies have had a good performance despite all difficulties. In spite of all the advantages and demerits of the cryptocurrencies, large numbers of people have been interested in the cryptocurrency world, and the robbers are not an exception; those who commit it via their systems without the bother of climbing the walls. Sometimes very young, they can commit robberies and put massive financial systems into trouble.
One of the robbers who is a twenty-year-old student has stolen five million cryptocurrencies from 40 victims. This young robber succeeded in stealing the victims’ cryptocurrencies through hijacking the phone numbers, he confessed to his crime at the court and was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.
As Erin West, Deputy District Attorney of Santa Clara County, California, Ortiz admitted his impeachments and will officially be penalized on March 14. Based on the authorities’ announcement, Ortiz is the first one condemned to SIM swapping. Prosecutors and bailiffs of this case hope it can be an eye opener either for those arrested before or the robbers who are still at large.
The Increasing Number of SIM Swapping
The number of such a kind of robbery is increasing. The robbers use this method to steal fiat money (the money unbacked by gold and silver), cryptocurrencies and even the information of the users’ social networks or whatever with the potential to be sold in black market.
How Do the Robbers Do SIM swap?
In hijacking SIM number, the robbers call the mobile operator and claim that their SIM card has been lost and request the transfer of their number to a new SIM. The criminals convince mobile operators reasoning that these numbers are for their social services or addresses.
When the mobile operator transfers the number to a new SIM, the hackers can do a two-stage account authentication. One of the hackers told the Motherboard that through a personal phone number, his /her account information will be available in a few seconds; therefore, he/she cannot do anything about it.
Other Cryptocurrency Robberies
During the last year, the authorities identified another crime related to the cryptocurrency. In Russia, security guards arrested a group of nuclear engineers aiming to mine Bitcoin through a supercomputer. The others arrested include Zavyer Narvaez, stealing about $1million of Bitcoins and Nicholas Truglia, stealing millions of Bitcoins. Moreover, Joseph Harris is one of the notorious robbers who has stolen $14 million via robbing phone numbers.