United States law enforcement on Thursday arrested two men for their involvement in a SIM swap hack, following the theft of cryptocurrencies and social media hijack.
Both the accused, Eric Meiggs and Declan Harrington, are in their early twenties and residents of Massachusetts.
The perpetrators were charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and abuse, and one count of aggravated identity theft in a District Court in Boston, making it an eleven count indictment.
Per the official statement by the Department of Justice, both arrested were targeting executives of cryptocurrency companies and others who likely had significant amounts of cryptocurrency and those who had high value or “Original Gangster” social media account names.
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A classic hacking technique
Both of them used the SIM swap hack along with other tactics to take control of their victims’ accounts and stole valuable digital commodities, including cryptocurrencies.
According to the authorities, the accused stole more than $500,000 from at least ten identified victims. In addition to that, they took control of the social media accounts of over two victims.
In a SIM swapping hack, cybercriminals convince a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassign the victim’s cell phone number from the SIM card inside the victim’s cell phone to a SIM card inside a cell phone controlled by cybercriminals. Then they use the authentication process linked to the cell phone number to get access to digital accounts.
Earlier this month, a Florida-based law firm filed lawsuits against AT&T and T-Mobile, two major telecom providers, after multiple customers fell victim to a SIM swap hack, resulting in the theft of nearly $1.3 million in digital currencies.
In September, US authorities also indicted two perpetrators involved in the EtherDelta hack. They also used the SIM swap technique to gain access to the platform’s CEO’s digital accounts.