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Although phishing scams are still among the most common cyberattacks, new evolving cyber-attacks continue to emerge targeting cyber vulnerabilities. A recent study found that 60% of scams come from cell phones. Similarly, different types of fraud and online scams are common in cryptocurrencies. The prevalent attacks can range from creating fake websites and fake mobile apps to sending spam and malicious emails and impersonating another person by stealing someone’s identity credentials.
In addition to these pernicious attacks, the most common attack includes SIM-swapping. SIM swapping is a method used by cybercriminals that allows them to take control of your smartphone and hack into your web accounts.
This blog will discuss how SIM swapping impacts crypto-community and preventive crypto security measures. To start, let’s first define what SIM swapping is.
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What is a SIM Swap Scam?
A SIM swapping attack is also called SIM hijacking, SIM-splitting and port-out scamming. SIM swapping attack is a form of identity theft where a fraudster assigns the stolen mobile phone number to a new SIM card. The scammer uses the 2FA and verification vulnerabilities that involve the second step of the process, where a person receives a text message or a call to a cellphone number.
In other words, SIM swap attacks target phone numbers to steal passwords, financial assets and data, cryptocurrencies, and other valuables. Here are some warning signs that show you are the victim of SIM swapping.
Lose of Phone Services:
One sign of a successful SIM swap attack is that you lose all cellphone services entirely. Moreover, a scammer can also deactivate your SIM card, and if the SIM card is deactivated, you will not even be able to call or send a text to the customer service centre.
Social Media Activity:
If you notice unusual activities on your social media account that are not yours, then your account is possibly hacked.
If you cannot access your credit cards and bank accounts and your login credentials no longer work, then it’s most likely that you are the successful target of the SIM swap attack.
Other signs of SIM swapping are that the attacker can use your stolen phone number or SIM card on different devices. Furthermore, hackers can also access all the files you download to your phone, including social networks and financial apps.
SIM Swap Attacks on Crypto Community Stats
Once the SIM swap attack is successful, crooks will be able to access all calls, text messages, and the victim’s data, allowing two-factor authentication via SMS to reset passwords for bank accounts and other sites.
Consequently, hackers can also connect additional tools or devices to your two-factor authentication, which means that your online financial accounts are vulnerable to prevalent cyberattacks. The SIM swapping spree also targeted people within the cryptocurrency community.
Let’s have a look at stats that show how SIM swap attacks cause damaging financial loss of cryptocurrencies users:
- Data from Cisco/Cybersecurity Ventures 2019 Cybersecurity Almanac states that SIM Swap attacks have led to the theft of cryptocurrencies worth tens of millions of dollars
- The FBI received more than 320 complaints about SIM swap attacks that caused the loss of about $12 million.
- In 2021, more than 1,611 complaints were filed to the FBI for SIM swapping with the loss of approximately $68 million.
- The FBI listed 63 notorious people on their “Cyber’s Most Wanted List” available on the website. The people on the list include criminals who conspired to commit heinous crimes against the U.S., including hacking, identity theft, money laundering, and other offences, which cost the organizations tens of billions of dollars.
Impact of SIM Swap on the Crypto Investors and Traders
If you use message-based 2FA to log in to your bank account, your finances are not secure and vulnerable to malicious attacks. Suppose an attacker gets access to your cellphone number. In that case, they can quickly get the login credentials to your cryptocurrency wallet by requesting the two-factor authentication be sent to their smartphone.
Cybercriminals can cause even more financial chaos by using the methods like coin mixing to gain access to other wallets.
The FBI has also warned of the sharp rise in frauds and cybercrimes using SIM swapping attacks. The FBI has also issued alerts for SIM Swapping as the number of reported cases in 2021 skyrocketed compared to the previous years. SIM Swap attackers usually target people with popular social media accounts or someone with a fair amount of cryptocurrency. Many cryptocurrency holders were the successful SIM swap target last year when bitcoin was at its peak, unlike wireless accounts.
Crypto-security should never be taken for granted, and organizations should take preventive measures to secure online assets and digital currency.
Prevent SIM Swap Scam to Secure Your Crypto Investment
Here are a few practical ways to prevent SIM swapping and boost crypto security:
- Do not disclose your cellphone number or other vital credentials, including passwords and PIN, to representatives over the phone.
- One of the effective ways to secure your SIM card from cybercriminals is by having a SIM PIN. The SIM PIN prompt is displayed every time the smartphone is restarted or if the SIM Card is used for a new smartphone.
- Avoid oversharing information online. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for crucial information and use that information available online for SIM Swap attacks. Do not share information about your financial assets online, including cryptocurrency, on social media platforms or any forum.
- Enable 2FA by using authenticator apps such as Authy, Google Authenticator, and Microsoft Authenticator.
- Never click on spammy emails and links, as they are primarily written to collect your sensitive and login information.
- Mobile carriers usually allow you to create a PIN that you can use to access your account.
- Avoid sharing bank details and credit card details with anyone until you know who is on the other end of the call.
- Bonus tip: Get in touch with Efani as they have effective services for SIM Swap protection.
Remember your SIM card is vulnerable to malicious attacks. Cybercriminals and crooks are constantly improving their ways to hack and breach data. Due to the catastrophic consequences of SIM Swapping, it is imperative to stay vigilant and take measures to protect your business and financial assets.
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