SIM swappers are beginning to target crypto influencers ahead of the holidays, with some taking control of their high-profile accounts on X.
Some include the accounts of crypto investment firm Manifold Trading and its founding partner, Jae Chung. Unlike regular posts about platform products and market analysis, both accounts posted a series of malicious links to crypto drainers, which have already claimed some victims.
— lron (@lronLoL) December 22, 2023
Chung confirmed to CoinTelegraph that the hack was caused by a SIM swap, but that only his and the company’s X accounts were impacted. Anything “fund-related,” he said, remains safe.
SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. Mobile phones come baked in with a SIM card that stores identifying information (aka your phone number).
Hence a SIM swap is when a hacker takes control of your phone number, usually by convincing a cell carrier to switch your number to a SIM in their possession. Naturally, this gives the hacker access to any accounts for which a victim uses that number for two-factor authentication.
Farokh – the pseudonymous founder of the decentralized media platform “Rug Radio” – also confirmed he’d been SIM swapped on Wednesday. Earlier this month, the firm formed a merger with crypto media outlet Decrypt.
“Phone number is not associated to Twitter, but please be careful,” he wrote to X. “My phone number is compromised, trust nothing coming from me.”
Avoiding SIM Swap Hacks
There are a plethora of ways to avoid getting SIM swapped, or to reduce the danger of one. For one, many choose to use Google Authentator or other downloadable apps for two-factor authentication, rather than a phone number.
Blockchain investigator ZachXBT has recommended that crypto holders use authenticator apps or security keys over phone numbers, even warning that pin-protected SIMs can be “bypassed rather easily.”
“It’s easily preventable by NOT using Verizon, ATT, or any other normal carrier,” added borovik.eth on Wednesday. “All it takes is a couple calls and some convincing and they’ll transfer your number to someone else’s phone.”
Between May and August, at least 54 crypto community members lost $13.3 million to SIM swaps.
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