In the lead-up to Christmas, a wave of SIM-swap attacks has hit the cryptocurrency community, affecting high-profile figures and crypto-related projects. These malicious attacks have caused concern among users and raised questions about the security of their digital assets.
SIM-Swap attacks on prominent figures
Several notable cryptocurrency influencers and projects have fallen victim to SIM-swap attacks in the past week. Among them are the founders of Manifold Trading and Rug Radio and other crypto influencers.
In a recent incident on December 22, the official X (formerly Twitter) account of Manifold Trading, as well as its co-founder, Jae Chung, were compromised by a SIM-swap hacker.
The attacker posted malicious links to crypto-draining schemes via the compromised account. Despite the account being protected by an email address and password, the hackers managed to gain control.
Jae Chung reassured the community that anything “fund-sensitive” was secure, and steps were taken to regain control of the accounts and restore normal functionality.
On December 21, Farokh, the pseudonymous founder of Rug Radio, also experienced a SIM-swap attack. Fortunately, he confirmed that his Twitter account was not linked to the compromised phone number.
Understanding SIM-Swap attacks
A SIM-swap attack is a specific type of fraud where attackers gain control of a victim’s phone number, providing them access to various accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, and crypto-related accounts that rely on SMS verification.
This attack can have devastating consequences, allowing hackers to potentially drain victims’ digital assets.
Protecting against attacks
Cryptocurrency users must take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of these attacks. One of the most effective measures is to ensure that two-factor authentication (2FA) is not linked to a mobile number.
Instead, users are encouraged to use an authenticator app like Google Authenticator. By doing so, they eliminate the vulnerability of having their telecommunication data stolen.
Blockchain sleuth ZachXBT emphasized the importance of using authenticator apps in a post on X. He pointed out that in the four months leading up to August, hackers had successfully stolen over $13.3 million from 54 high-profile individuals.
The recent surge in SIM-swap attacks targeting cryptocurrency influencers and projects highlights a growing trend of cybercriminals focusing their efforts on the crypto space. These attacks are a stark reminder of the industry’s need for enhanced security measures.
Before the recent attacks, on October 4, users of the social finance platform Friend.tech took to Twitter to report falling victim to such exploits. One pseudonymous user, “froggie.eth,” revealed that their Friend.tech account had been accessed via a SIM-swap attack. Subsequently, the attackers drained over 20 Ether (ETH), equivalent to roughly $44,000.