SIM swapping and cryptocurrency theft: ten arrests

SIM swapping and cryptocurrency theft: ten arrests
Ten members of a gang that carried out a series of SIM swapping attacks during 2020 were arrested following an international investigation coordinated by Europol. Cybercriminals stole over $ 100 million worth of cryptocurrencies after gaining access to the smartphones of thousands of victims, including famous influencers, sports stars and musicians.

SIM swapping and cryptocurrency theft

The investigation, launched last spring, led to the discovery of a network made up of criminals from various countries who managed to gain access to phone numbers victims and take control of their accounts by changing passwords. This type of fraud, called SIM swapping, involves the transfer of the number to the SIM belonging to a gang member. This is usually done with the help of a telephone operator employee or through social engineering techniques.

After taking control of the number, the cybercriminals changed app passwords and account, using the code sent via SMS and thus bypassing the two-factor authentication protection. This gave them access to personal information, such as contacts synchronized online, social media accounts and especially digital coin wallets. Europol estimates that over $ 100 million worth of cryptocurrencies has been stolen.

Eight gang members, aged 18-26, have been arrested in England and Scotland. Two other criminals were arrested in Belgium and Malta. Many of the victims are US residents, so the judge will certainly ask for extradition.

Source: Europol