In a disconcerting turn of events, SIM swappers have started targeting high-profile cryptocurrency influencers just in time for the holiday season. Their primary aim is to take control of these influencers’ accounts on various platforms. Notable victims of this type of attack include renowned crypto investment firm Manifold Trading and its founding partner, Jae Chung. Instead of sharing valuable insights about platform products and market analysis, compromised accounts have been used to disseminate malicious links to crypto-draining websites, resulting in a number of individuals falling victim to these scams.
The Devastating Consequences
One affected individual, going by the Twitter handle ‘@lronLoL,’ lamented the loss of funds from his wallet, expressing frustration and anger towards Manifold Trading and Jae Chung. According to Chung, the attack on their accounts was a result of a SIM swap, which affected only their Twitter accounts, leaving anything “fund-related” secure. SIM swaps occur when hackers gain control of a victim’s phone number by persuading the cellular service provider to switch the number to a SIM card in their possession. This illicit access grants the hackers the ability to breach any accounts linked to that phone number, particularly those employing two-factor authentication.
In light of these incidents, vigilance and proactive security measures have become paramount. It is advisable to opt for alternative methods of two-factor authentication, such as using Google Authenticator or other downloadable authentication apps, instead of relying solely on phone numbers. Blockchain investigator ZachXBT echoed this sentiment, warning crypto holders that even pin-protected SIM cards can be easily bypassed. He advised the use of authentication apps or security keys instead. Additionally, it has been suggested that users should be cautious regarding their choice of cellular service provider. Popular carriers such as Verizon and AT&T may be susceptible to social engineering tactics employed by hackers to transfer phone numbers to alternative devices.
The prevalence of SIM swapping attacks targeting the crypto community is worrisome. Data between May and August revealed that at least 54 individuals from the crypto space fell victim to SIM swapping, resulting in a staggering loss of $13.3 million. This alarming trend has only continued, with more recent incidents highlighting the vulnerability of prominent crypto influencers. As recently as October, members of the innovative social finance platform Friend.tech suffered significant financial losses due to SIM swapping attacks. One such member, froggie.ETH, lost 20 ETH held on the platform in September, emphasizing the heartbreaking consequences of these breaches.
The rising number of SIM swapping incidents is a somber reminder of the need to remain extra cautious in the cryptocurrency space. As crypto influencers continue to be targeted, it is imperative that individuals take appropriate security measures to safeguard their assets. By adopting alternative authentication methods and being mindful of their choice of cellular service provider, crypto enthusiasts can reduce the risk of falling prey to these devastating attacks.