Hackers typically target institutional cryptocurrency investors and exchanges. However, as the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin became more widespread, these hackers began to target small individual investors.
They hack random people by swapping SIM cards or changing phone numbers from one device to another. Then they visit their cryptocurrency accounts on trading platforms such as Binance and empty them.
Rosa Maguina, 53, is one of the tiny investors who have been hacked, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story. Ms. Maguina put a large portion of her savings in Bitcoin earlier this year. Unfortunately, she lost the money after a hacker took over her phone number for only two hours. She claimed the incident happened on July 5, when she was about to go to bed and discovered her phone had lost signal. An unauthorized user had changed her Binance and Coinbase passwords by the time it was recovered. They drained her crypto accounts, which were worth roughly $80,000 at the time.
Bitcoin’s price has risen by more than 70% since its occurrence. “I’m no longer interested in it.” “I don’t need to make things any worse than it already is,” Ms. Maguina remarked.
Investors are holding grudges towards their cellular carriers as a result of these attacks. As a result, telecommunications companies are looking for ways to strengthen their security procedures. When users utilize their phone numbers in new phones, they are subjected to SIM swaps. Hackers use this strategy to impersonate phone users and obtain various account information or personal data. They can then gain access to the victims’ financial or social media accounts.
This is the issue that phone companies are attempting to address, and some have devised measures to mitigate the risk. However, their efficacy is still being debated.
AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications carrier, told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it uses data analytics tools to analyze the risk of customers’ SIM-swap requests.
Verizon, another network operator, stated that customers must enter a one-time passcode (OTP) when switching carriers. T-Mobile and US Mobile have also implemented extra security measures.
The Federal Communications Commission is also ordering wireless carriers to strengthen their SIM exchange procedures. The government proposed regulations in September requiring corporations to validate users’ passwords or provide one-time passcodes.
The rules would also compel corporations to strengthen procedures for resetting lost or stolen passwords and limit the amount of data staff might disclose. Some wireless businesses, however, are dissatisfied with the mandate.
Following that, CTIA, a trade organization representing the cellular communications industry in the United States, asked for regulatory flexibility.