SIM Swapping Is a Growing Cyber Threat — Here’s Help

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A CNBC story last week led with this headline: “Coinbase slammed for what users say is terrible customer service after hackers drain their accounts.”

Here’s an excerpt: “For Tanja Vidovic, it was a moment of panic: She had received a series of alerts about someone changing access to her cryptocurrency account. And she realized, as she stared at her computer screen, that nearly all of her $168,000 in holdings was gone — vanished before her eyes. …

“In a response to his frantic email, Coinbase told Ben his computer had been hacked and there wasn’t anything the company could do. …


“Experts say SIM swapping, where fraudsters seize control of a victim’s phone number and SIM card through their phone company, is to blame for many of the cryptocurrency thefts.”

You can watch a video segment on the same topic here:

Another recent example comes from Forbes, which highlighted an FBI bitcoin and cryptocurrency alert:

“The FBI advised financial and crypto companies to check the origin of emails and keep an eye on recently created accounts while those buying bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were encouraged to use multi-factor authentication — meaning they must have access to at least two devices or accounts linked to the platform—avoid download requests, remote access applications and any unofficial company communication channels.”

One more headline, from earlier this year, read “Europe SIM swapping: 10 arrested in Europe over €82.4m scam to hijack celebrities’ phones“: “European police have arrested 10 people for allegedly hijacking mobile phones belonging to high-profile celebrities in the United States. …

“Europol said that “sim swapping” can be done either by fooling the phone company with “social engineering techniques” or by using a “corrupt insider.”

WHAT IS SIM SWAPPING?

I often get asked questions about growing cyber threats and how to keep online accounts safe — including cryptocurrencies. One area that has been getting a lot more attention is SIM-swapping fraud.

A SIM-swapping attack is also known as SIM splitting, SIMjacking, SIM hijacking and port-out…

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