A hacking method called SIM swapping is now being used by hackers to steal phone numbers, personal data, and – in some cases – millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from the crypto account holders and investors. The most recent victim of this kind of hack had approximately $24 million worth of cryptocurrencies from his account registered on an exchange.
Michael Terpin, a resident of California, is the most recent and high profile victims of SIM Swapping. The hack cost him $24 million worth of cryptocurrencies. Terpin is suing his cell phone service provider – AT&T – for $224 million amid allegations of negligence resulting in the hack.
Terpin compared AT&T’s actions to that of “a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.”
Cryptocurrency-related hacks, scams, and thefts are a growing epidemic. According to crypto scam watchdog Crypto Aware, approximately $670 million worth of cryptocurrencies has been stolen in just the first three months of 2018.
Kyle Samani, the Managing Partner at Crypto Hedge Fund Multicoin Capital said:
In online banking, if someone gets into your account there’s ways to get the money back. In crypto, if hackers get access to your private keys, they own your money and you’re screwed.
How To Protect Yourself (and Your Crypto)
According to the cybersecurity industry experts, SIM swapping attacks can largely be avoided by being vigilant about who has your mobile phone number. In addition to increased vigilance, experts also recommend:
- Using alternative authentication networks and applications like Google authentication, Microsoft authentication, Authy, Duo etc.
- Not storing your cryptocurrency on any exchange for a long period of time (frankly, unless you are going to execute a trade immediately, keeping it stored offline is the safest bet)
- Calling your mobile service provider and request additional security protections
- Avoiding posting your phone number online
- Not bragging about your cryptocurrency gains
In this day and age, a little carelessness can cost you a lot. Protect your crypto investments by guarding your phone number and other security codes, lest hackers make their way in your life and wallet as well.
Have you ever been a victim of SIM swapping? What additional measures do you take to protect your personal data and crypto investments? Let us know in the comments below.
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