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A 20-year-old student steals $5 million in cryptocurrencies

07/31/2018

A 20-year-old university student was arrested in Los Angeles, accused of operating nearly 50 phones at a Bitcoin conference and stealing $5 million in cryptocurrencies with the technique known as SIM hijacking or SIM swapping, which involves tricking a telephone operator to transfer the phone number of the target to a SIM card controlled by the offender. Once the transfer is complete, the offender can reset the victims' passwords, getting access to their online accounts. To prevent this scam, many telephony providers allow you to choose a PIN associated with the mobile account (different from the PIN used in it), or even an audio keyword recorded that must be sent to the operator.

The defendant faces 28 counts, including 13 counts of identity theft, 13 counts of hacking and two counts of senior theft. Supposedly, the defendant was part of the prolific OGUSERS community, a website where users can trade Instagram or Twitter identifiers. The members of this community usually hack high profile accounts using techniques like the one mentioned previously, and then sell account access through their website.