Many cryptocurrency traders have fallen prey to SIM swapping frauds in 2021. SIM swapping, also known as SIM jacking, is a type of account takeover invasion in which a scammer uses social engineering to switch a target’s mobile phone number with their own SIM card.
Such an exploit allows attackers to acquire login details or two-factor authentication codes to access password-protected accounts like crypto wallets, bank accounts, and social networking profiles.
These sorts of threats have been taking place for over a decade. Nonetheless, they increased significantly in 2017 and 2018 when cybercriminals started attacking the cryptocurrency group to obtain entry to account information used to manage massive amounts of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and more.
As per the data, the vast majority of the US population with mobile phone number enrollments with wireless carriers is now vulnerable to SIM swaps. This notion becomes even more frightening if you are a crypto trader who does not want to lose all the wealth.
This article will discuss the SIM swap, its effect on the cryptocurrency world, and some excellent SIM swap prevention methods.
What exactly is a SIM swap?
A SIM swap allows attackers to gain access to a target’s mobile telephone network quickly and affordably. An attacker must comprehend how wireless phone carriers confirm the person’s authenticity and precise details to carry out an attack. Only the target’s contact information is often required to carry out the SIM swap attack.
SIM Swap Process
Rather than cell phones, SIM cards are tied to phone numbers. It allows the SIM swap from your old phone to be relatively easy and seamless to the latest one. The old SIM card must be detached and placed into the new phone. Your SIM card contains contact details and access codes that your mobile phone will use to connect to the phone carrier. Some mobile phones also include an eSIM, which is built-in and can be modified to download SIM information from almost anywhere and tied to a phone number.
When a SIM swap is made, the user’s contact information and account details are moved from one SIM to another. Malicious hackers use social engineering to spoof the targeted individual to the phone carrier’s call representative because substituting a SIM card is legitimate customer care. A SIM swap invasion begins with classifying the targeted individual and sending phishing attempts to collect individual data that could be used to effectively imitate the person to customer service staff and provide the data required to carry out the SIM swap fraud via self-service applications and websites.
How Does SIM Swapping Affect the Crypto Community?
We rely too much on our cell phones today. It won’t be wrong to say that getting our phone number swapped to someone can have profound effects, especially if you have tied your number to sensitive accounts like banks, crypto wallets, or corporate accounts. It becomes even worse when your 2FA is your phone number.
Suppose a cyber criminal got access to your phone number by swapping your SIM to their phone. Your phone number is linked to your crypto wallet, and you are also using your phone number as an added security check to access your wallet via 2FA. In this scenario, if a hacker receives the one time password to your wallet through a two-factor authentication method (usually an SMS or a voice call) and enters your account, you are at risk of losing all your finances in splits of seconds.
The attacker can also modify your passwords, change linked phone numbers, and stop you from getting your account back even after you get your phone number back (since the tied number is now changed). He can transfer your wealth to his account and hijack your account and make it his forever. Your claim to your account can get it back, but your funds are gone for sure. They can end up causing even more mayhem by using techniques such as coin mixing to gain entry to other crypto-wallets.
Tips to Avoid SIM Swap Attacks
Here are a few great ways to effectively avoid a SIM swap attack:
- Choose a distinct 2FA approach than SMS, like authenticator apps (Microsoft Authenticator, Authy, or Google Authenticator) or a physical token like the YubiKey. It would help if you implemented this to all your important accounts. At the very least, you must use it for your bank account and crypto wallet.
- Rather than saving your passcodes on your mobile, install a password manager app to protect and maintain them.
- Take immediate action if your smartphone mysteriously goes out of signals. Notify your cell phone carrier and change the password and tied numbers of all your important accounts.
- Avoid giving out personal information on the internet, especially the things you use to answer security questions. Cybercriminals are looking for any tiny piece of information about you that they can use to classify you as a victim.
- Stop clicking on intrusive emails carrying phishing links or downloads as they are intended to imitate you and compromise your login details and other sensitive data.
- Don’t ever offer anyone your credit card, crypto wallet, or bank information.
- Maintain eternal supervision and attention to your phone services. Notify your cellphone provider if you are having signal problems.
- Refresh your passwords regularly. Avoid using the same password for more than one app or account.
- Subscribe to Efani for only $99 a month; they provide a guaranteed warranty against SIM swap attacks.
- Secure your phone number by including a PIN in your cell phone plan. Adding a PIN is not a foolproof solution, but it is still better than doing nothing. This assistance is available on all four major US carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular.
- Lastly, if you have been the victim of a SIM swap scam, act fast to avoid more extensive damage than losing just a phone number.