SIM Swap Attack and Its Adverse Effects on Crypto Community

Email addresses, bank accounts, social media platforms, medical accounts, and cryptocurrency wallets are just a few of the essential services we use on our mobile phones. It implies that if a cybercriminal gains access to your phone data, he will be capable of damaging your entire life. Sadly, SIM swap attacks provide them with the methods to do so.

This blog will discuss the SIM swap attack and its adverse effects on the crypto community. Read along.

What is A SIM Swap Attack?

A SIM swap fraud happens if a hacker tricks their target’s mobile phone carrier into transferring the target’s mobile number to the latest SIM card embedded in the hacker’s phone. Once it occurs, the hackers have full rights to the target’s email, could change all of their login details, and do anything they like with it. In several cases, even 2FA (two-factor authentication) cannot protect the target because most rely on text messages to get the login codes, which malicious hackers can obtain once they take possession of a target’s mobile. SIM swap breaches are most dangerous when hackers gain access to the target’s online banking or cryptocurrency wallets since they can now drain their funds to their accounts.

By far, the most concerning aspect is the lack of technical knowledge required to swap SIM cards effectively. The hacking group only needs to persuade the target’s mobile carrier to transfer their number to a new device. They can accomplish this by acquiring the target’s personally identifiable information via phishing, social engineering, or simply buying information about individuals who have been affected by a data leak. In some instances, phone company staff members will port the target’s number even without the attacker providing needed personal information, either since they are duped or because they have been bribed. Irrespective of the precise details, it does not require many technical skills, implying that almost any cybercriminal with just enough incentive can carry out the attack.

SIM Swap and Crypto Community

In 2021, countless individuals in the cryptocurrency community were targeted by SIM swapping frauds. In reality, the number of SIM swap threats had only increased since 2017, when attackers began fixating on crypto traders and investors to access internet accounts used to manage huge sums of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.

However, while all these threats were prevalent in 2021, the percentage of SIM swapping breaches have decreased in 2022, particularly after law enforcement began putting pressure on and detaining some of the cybercriminals engaged in these initiatives.

Many of the SIM swap targets have readily stated to lose money, like Sean Coonce, who wrote an article on how he lost around 100K USD in cryptocurrency due to a SIM swap fraud. Others also publicly stated that losing money, while a few claimed that the SIM swap attacks were ineffective since they shifted to using private hardware keys to secure accounts rather than the text-based 2FA process.

One target, who requested anonymity, asserted that once hackers realized they couldn’t gain access to crypto trading accounts, they quickly managed to switch techniques and aimed social networking and email accounts, skillfully hijacking the target’s Instagram profile. It occurred to many other users, with hackers gaining control of social media accounts because they couldn’t obtain cryptocurrency wallets.

How to Know If Your SIM is Cloned?

It can be challenging to stay ahead of SIM swap scams. It is critical to recognize warning signs so that you can disable the fraudsters’ access as soon as possible.

Here are three indicators that you may have been a target of SIM swapping.

  1. The first significant sign that you may be a target of SIM swapping is when your mobile calls and messages stop working. It most likely indicates that scam artists have disabled your SIM card and are using your mobile number.
  2. If your phone carrier informs you that your SIM card or mobile number has been activated on another device, you’ve been a target.
  3. If your login credentials for accounts such as your bank and credit card no longer work, you have most likely been taken over. Reach out to your bank, company, and other organizations as soon as possible.
  4. You notice unusual online activity. Such as your social profiles or browsing activity.

How to Prevent SIM Swap Attack?

Below are a few practical ways of SIM swap detection and prevention.

  1. Be wary of spam emails and other methods by which hackers may attempt to gain access to confidential information to persuade your cell phone carrier or bank to gain benefits by impersonating you.
  2. Increase the security of your mobile phone account by using a specific, complex password and robust security QAs that only you are aware of.
  3. If your mobile provider permits, consider using a different passcode or PIN for your interactions. It can add an extra layer of security.
  4. Do not base your safety and identity verification on your mobile number alone. It includes non-encrypted text messages.
  5. You could use a verification app like Authy and Google Authenticator, which provides two-factor verification but is linked to your physical machine instead of your mobile number.
  6. Check if your mobile carriers and banks can work together to share their expertise of SIM swap behaviour, such as by implementing user notifications and extra checks once SIM cards are revised.
  7. Banks could use new tech that analyses customer behaviour to identify compromised devices and warn customers not to send text-based passcodes.
  8. Some businesses respond to clients to ensure they are who they claim to be and catch cyber criminals.
  9. One possible explanation why a mobile number might not have been the perfect authenticator of your identity is SIM swapping. It is a weak authenticator. Adding extra layers of security to your profiles and your ID could prevent your accounts.
  10. Subscribe to Efani. They provide guaranteed protection from SIM swaps, spam calls & texts, eavesdropping, location tracking, and more.

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