Sim swapping attacks hit US cryptocurrency users

Something strange happened last week, with tens of US-based cryptocurrency users seeing SIM swapping attacks.

Numerous members of the cryptocurrency community have been hit by SIM swapping attacks over the past week, in what appears to be a coordinated wave of attacks.

SIM swapping, also known as SIM jacking, is a type of ATO (account take over) attack during which a malicious threat actor uses various techniques (usually social engineering) to transfers a victim's phone number to their own SIM card.

The purpose of this attack is so that hackers can reset passwords or receive 2FA verification codes and access protected accounts.

These types of attacks have been going on for half a decade now, but they've exploded in 2017 and 2018 when attackers started focusing on attacking members of the cryptocurrency community, so they could gain access to online accounts used for managing large sums of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.

But while these attacks were very popular last year, this year, the number of SIM swapping attacks appeared to have gone down, especially after law enforcement started cracking down and arresting some of the hackers involved in these schemes.

Something happened last week

But despite a period of calm in the first half of the year, a rash of SIM swapping attacks have been reported in the second half of May, and especially over the past week.

Several users tweeted their horrific experiences.

Some of them have publicly admitted to losing funds, such as Sean Coonce, who penned a blog post about how he lost over $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency due to a SIM swapping attack.

Some victims avoided getting hacked

Some other victims candidly admitted to losing funds, while others said the SIM swapping attacks were unsuccessful because they switched to using hardware security tokens to protect accounts, instead of the classic SMS-based 2FA system.

Hackers charged with stealing $ 2.4 million



A group of hackers from the cybercrime group known as “The Community” charged in the U.S for “Sim Hijacking” attack and commit wire fraud along with 3 former employees of mobile phone providers.

All the 6 members of “The community ” group alleged to have participated in thefts of victims’ identities and used the data to steal cryptocurrencies via SIM Hijacking attack also known as SIM Swapping.

“SIM Hijacking” or “SIM Swapping” is an identity theft technique that exploits a common cyber-security weakness – mobile phone numbers.

This special technique used by hackers to gain control of victims’ mobile phone number in order to route the victims mobile traffic such as phone calls and short message service (“SMS”) messages through the devices controlled by “The Community”.

According to the fifteen-count indictment unsealed, SIM Hijacking was accomplished by a member of “The Community” contacting a mobile phone provider’s customer service—posing as the victim—and requesting that the victim’s phone number be swapped to a SIM card (and thus a mobile device) controlled by “The Community”. Later, Hijacked new SIM will be used as a gateway to gain control of online accounts such as a victim’s email, cloud storage, and cryptocurrency exchange accounts.

Here is the list of 6 “The Community” 3 former employee of mobile phone provider.

Conor Freeman, 20, of Dublin, Ireland

Ricky Handschumacher, 25 of Pasco County, Florida

Colton Jurisic, 20 of, Dubuque, Iowa

Reyad Gafar Abbas, 19, of Rochester, New York

Garrett Endicott, 21, of Warrensburg, Missouri

Ryan Stevenson, 26, of West Haven, Connecticut

Charged in the criminal complaint were:

Jarratt White, 22 of Tucson, Arizona

Robert Jack, 22of Tucson, Arizona

Fendley Joseph, 28, of Murrietta, California