Cell phone and internet provider AT&T isn’t putting up with allegations that it allowed SIM-swapping to occur. It is now readying itself for what will no doubt be a harsh legal fight against those who are seeking reparations due to potential AT&T employees that might have played a part in millions of crypto funds being stolen over the past several months.
SIM-Swapping Is a Huge Problem
SIM-swapping is a very deadly (but also popular) tactic utilized by several members of the cyberthief community. The process involves gaining access to a person’s personal data such as their social security number and their birthdate. With that information, a hacker can potentially call the person’s cell phone provider and claim to be them. By presenting the personal information they possess, they act like the original owner of the account and ultimately have their data transferred to a SIM card that the hacker possesses.
If this doesn’t work, they simply try bribing the employees they call for information, and sometimes this works. According to the latest lawsuits, this is potentially what happened, though AT&T claims it is not responsible for the actions that were taken.
At the center of the mess is a suit being brought forth by Seth Shapiro, who says that he had nearly $2 million in crypto funds stolen from him when a hacker gained control of his cell phone and began directing digital money into a separate account through the alleged aid of AT&T customer service personnel.
A representative of the tech giant named Jim Greer issued a statement regarding the case, explaining:
It’s unfortunate that Mr. Shapiro [the customer] experienced this, but we will be disputing his allegations. We look forward to presenting our case in court… Recent high-profile cases reinforce the importance of businesses and consumers taking steps to protect against SIM-swap fraud, such as not using mobile phone numbers as the single source of security and authentication.
Sadly, things aren’t looking great for AT&T considering this isn’t the first time it’s been accused of taking part in malicious action towards its customers. In August, it was revealed that several of the company’s employees planted malware on users’ phones and then removed their numbers from the AT&T network in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes.
AT&T Is Being Struck from Every Angle
In addition, Michael Terpin claims he was the victim of a separate SIM-swapping case that saw him lose approximately $24 million in crypto funds at the hands of a hacker. He’s presenting his own case against AT&T and seeking more than $220 million in damages. After a short court examination, a federal judge last July decided that the case is valid and can proceed as originally planned.
Thus, it looks like AT&T is going to be getting hit from all sides over the next few months.