Authorities bust SIM swap fraud ring, arrest 10 hackers for targeting celebrities
According to EUROPOL, which announced the arrests of eight suspects between the ages of 18 and 26 from the UK and two other suspects from Malta and Belgium, the losses caused by the hackers was upwards of $100 million.
European authorities have arrested ten persons who were suspected of carrying out a series of SIM-swap attacks on various influential and famous people - the attackers had illegally gained over $100 million from their victims, according to news reports.
According to EUROPOL, the attackers had targeted sports stars, social media influencers, and musicians, in an attempt to steal their data, and eventually their money. But the attackers also targeted their families, which indicates the intention to access their targets through all possible revenues.
The process of carrying out a ‘SIM swap' attack is actually quite straightforward. An attacker will identify a target whose money will be stolen. The attacker basically fools the telecom operator to hand over a new SIM to the customer (who is really the attacker). In some cases, the attacker may have to fool the consumer into accepting or initiating a SIM change request, although this can also be done in a sophisticated manner using malicious applications.
Once the attacker gets control of the SIM card, he technically has access to everything account that the victim can reset via your phone number. These could be a payment service, your email address your online cryptocurrency wallet, as well as other services that require a secure login but can be reset via a phone number confirmation.
According to EUROPOL, which announced the arrests of eight suspects between the ages of 18 and 26 from the UK and two other suspects from Malta and Belgium, the losses caused by the hackers was upwards of $100 million. Agencies from the United Kingdom, United States, Belgium, Malta and Canada worked together on the operation, EUROPOL stated.
“Sim swapping requires significant organisation by a network of cyber criminals, who each commit various types of criminality to achieve the desired outcome. This network targeted a large number of victims in the US and regularly attacked those they believed would be lucrative targets. As well as causing a lot of distress and disruption, we know they stole large sums from their victims, from either their bank accounts or bitcoin wallets,” said Paul Creffield, head of operations of the UK's National Crime Agency.