SIM-swapping attacks proliferate in cyberspace, stiffer penalties required?


Richard Yuan Li, a 20-year-old Californian, has been charged in the Eastern District of Louisiana over SIM-swapping attacks targeting at least 20 persons, including a physician based in New Orleans. Also, he was alleged of stealing a significant amount of digital currencies belonging to the victim.

A SIM-swapping attack is an unauthorized process that allows hackers access to victims’ personal information such as email accounts, digital currency wallets, and bank account details. They obtain this information by routing the victim’s messages and calls to another mobile phone in their possession.

Californian swapped over 20 SIM

Following the complaint, Li conducted several SIMs-swapping attacks over the past two years, along with co-conspirators. Between October 11 and December 6, the Californian hijacker was able to swap more than 20 SIMs, thereby gaining access to personal information of the victims.

In the first month of 2018, Li and his colleagues defrauded one of the customer service representatives at Apple inc. They convinced the representative that they didn’t receive an Apple device, which they ordered, precisely iPhone 8. They reportedly received the falsely-claimed device, through which they conducted the SIM-swapping attacks. 

Li fined $250,000 for his SIM-swapping attacks

They were able to swap many telephone numbers to the SIMs on the mobile phone, which the fraudulently received, and operated at Li’s room in San Diego.

One of the victims whose mobile number was swapped on November 10, lost a significant amount of cryptocurrencies to the attackers after accessing his email and digital currency accounts.

Although the co-conspirators are yet to be known, Li has been charged over the conspiracy to commit wire fraud, amid his SIM-swapping attacks. Once found guilty, he will face a five-year jail term and a fine of $250,000.

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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