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Massachusetts Men Get Prison for Crypto Theft using SIM-Swapping


www.financemagnates.com 20 October 2022 07:52, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

Two Massachusetts men have been sentenced on Wednesday for using SIM-swapping and other hacking techniques to steal cryptocurrencies and also taking over the social media accounts of many victims.

According to the Department of Justice press release, 24-year-old Eric Meiggs and 22-year-old Declan Harrington targeted executives of cryptocurrency exchanges, who have a high chance of holding a large number of cryptos. They also targeted high-value social media profiles.

The perpetrators illegally took control of the online accounts of the victims for stealing high-value things like cryptocurrencies. They allegedly siphoned around $330,000 in cryptocurrencies from at least ten victims.

For the crimes, Meiggs has been sentenced to two years and one day in prison, while Harrington has been imprisoned for two years and seven days.

An Infamous Hacking Technique

SIM-swapping is an infamous technique used by criminals to gain control of victims' phone numbers and thus access online accounts.

“In “SIM swapping”, cybercriminals convince a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassign the victim’s cell phone number from the SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module card) inside the victim’s cell phone to the SIM card inside a cell phone controlled by the cybercriminals,” the Department of Justice explained.

“Cybercriminals then pose as the victim with an online account provider and request that the provider send account password-reset links or an authentication code to the SIM-swapped device now controlled by the cybercriminals. The cybercriminals can then reset the victim’s account log-in credentials and use the log-in credentials to access the victim’s account without authorization, or “hack into” the account.”

Multiple mobile carriers in the United States also faced lawsuits by the victims of SIM swappings. Despite many precautions by telecom operators, such scams are very hard to prevent.

Earlier this year, YouTube accounts of multiple crypto influencers were compromised using SIM-swapping. However, that incident only resulted in promotions of scams and did not result in a high-value theft.

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