As our title is speaking about the matter, hackers, for the most cased, usually go after retail institutional crypto investors and exchanges. However, when the obtaining of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin turned to be more mainstream. These hackers have begun to go after small individual investors.
They choose random people through SIM changes or switching a phone number from one device to another. After that, they have availability to their crypto accounts on trading platforms like Binance and, then unfortunately they will empty the accounts.
53-year-old got hacked and lost everything
Based on the research by Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article, one of these small retail users that have experienced a hack attack is 53-year-old Rosa Maguina. At the beginning of this year, Ms. Maguina invested a massive part of her savings in Bitcoin. unluckily, she had bad luck and lost all of her funds after just 2 hours when a hacker hijacked her phone number.
She said the unfortunate event happened on July 5 when she was getting ready to sleep and then suddenly she noticed that her phone doesn’t have any signal. When she got the signal back, an unauthorized user had changed her Binance and Coinbase passwords. They took out her investment accounts of crypto, which were valued at around $80,000 at the time.
Since that time, Bitcoin’s price went up by over 70%. “I don’t follow it anymore. I don’t need to make this worse than what it is,” mentioned Ms. Maguina.
Finding a solution to stop phone hacking
These kinds of hack attacks made investors blame their cellphone companies. In a replay of that blame, telecom companies are looking for ways to harden their security protocols. When clients use their numbers on new phone devices, they go through SIM swaps. Thus, crypto hackers use this way to pose as phone users with different kinds of account information or personal data. Then they are capable of accessing victims’ financial or social media accounts.
This is the problem that phone companies are attempting to fix. Now some of these companies found some solutions to minimize the risk. However, their success in solving this huge problem is still questionable.
Solving these hacking problems
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the world. They mentioned to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it evaluates the risk of customers’ SIM-swap demands using data analytics tools.
Verizon is another important network operator. The team mentioned that they need clients to use a one-time passcode (OTP) when switching to another device. And in addition to them, other firms like T-Mobile and US Mobile have also established additional security measures.
The Federal Communications Commission is also demanding wireless firms to harden their methods for SIM swaps. In September, the agency suggested some regulations mandatory the firms need to verify users’ passwords or send one-time passcodes.
These rules would also demand the firms to harden methods for changing lost or stolen passwords. Moreover, limit what kind of data employees can disclose. However, some wireless firms are not satisfied with these rules.
CTIA, a trade association offering the wireless communications industry in the US, subsequently called for flexibility in the regulations.