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Bitcoin SIM swap hacker sentenced to 10 years

2019-02-04 14:39 by
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A California man is believed to be the first to receive jail time for enacting a SIM hijacking scheme. Joel Ortiz, who has managed to steal $5 mln in crypto with the help of SIM swapping, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Ortiz is one of a handful of SIM swappers who have been arrested in the last year for hijacking phone numbers and using them to then hack into emails, social media accounts, and online Bitcoin wallets. Other people who have been arrested are Xzavyer Narvaez, who's accused of stealing around $1 million in Bitcoin; Nicholas Truglia, who's also accused of stealing millions in Bitcoin; and Joseph Harris, one of the most infamous SIM swappers who allegedly stole more than $14 million in cryptocurrency.

SIM Swapping is a hack that essentially allows the hacker to access a victims phone by mirroring their phone number and getting the victims mobile service provider to provide a 'SIM swap', this means the phone becomes registered to a new SIM, one that is accessed by the hacker, meaning the hacker is able to receive verification codes that allow them to log on to the victims cryptocurrency wallets etc.

In some cases, thieves target people who own valuable social media accounts, such as those with short or unique handles or those with a huge list of followers. The thieves then sell access to those accounts on the dark web for thousands of dollars.

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