These days, smartphones are in just about everyone’s pocket. We use them for entertainment, sending messages, transferring money and even making the odd phone call. Our phones have become essential appendages to life. If you’ve ever physically lost your phone, you know that sinking, desperate feeling of checking all your pockets and bags and fearing… can someone see my stuff? Get ready because there’s another way to lose your phone without it ever leaving your pocket, and it’s called SIM swapping. SIM swaps are an unfortunately common means by which bad actors can access a cryptocurrency holder’s assets.
Looking Into Sim Swaps
In fact, Princeton University researchers conducted a study to determine how this worked empirically. They looked at AT&T, T-Mobile, Tracfone, US Mobile and Verizon, and attempted SIM swaps with these carriers. What they found is deeply concerning. Their findings include that “mobile carriers use insecure methods for authenticating SIM swaps,” “some carriers allow SIM swaps without authentication,” and “some carriers disclose personal information without authentication, including answers to authentication challenges.” The researchers’ note that their attempts at conducting SIM swaps at major carriers were all successful, as were some of the attempts at Tracfone and US Mobile. The paper can be found here https://www.usenix.org/system/files/soups2020-lee.pdf
These findings confirm that SIM swapping is a serious problem, and is far too easily to complete. Although it is devastating to have a phone number and other personal information taken, there may be recourse to help those who lost money due to a cryptocurrency SIM swap. SIM swapping, also called SIM jacking or SIM hijacking, is a form of identity theft where a criminal steals your mobile phone number by assigning it to a new SIM card. They can then insert the new SIM into a different phone to access your other accounts. A cryptocurrency litigation attorney can assist you in evaluating your situation to determine whether you may be able to file a lawsuit or arbitration.
If you have questions about a SIM swap, contact Michael Haeberle at firstname.lastname@example.org.