As reported by a native news outlet ‘VICE’, hacking $5 Mln in cryptocurrencies from forty victims via SIM swapping, a 20-year-old individual named ‘Joel Ortiz’, pleaded guilty to thieving and accepted a plea deal of ten years in jail.
Ortiz accepted the plea deal earlier last week, as per Erin West who is the Deputy prosecutor of Santa Clara country in California. He will formally be sentenced on 14th Mar. Authorities reportedly state that Ortiz is the first individual condemned for the criminal offense in the SIM swapping case.
“We presume justice has been served. And hopefully, this can be a strong message for the community,” in line with Samy Tarazi, one among the agents who investigated Ortiz told Motherboard.
SIM swapping has been ‘growing‘ rapidly among criminals as a means to steal standard, crypto, and even social media usernames and handles, that may lately be sold on a black market. The Instagram account “@t” reportedly sold for $40,000 USD in Bitcoin [BTC].
In SIM swapping, Hackers call a telecoms company ‘intimating‘ as their target and claim that their SIM card has been lost, which they’d like to be ported to a SIM card. The criminals convince phone companies that they’re who they claim to be by providing social security numbers or addresses.
Once the telecoms company transfers the number to a new SIM, hackers then easily bypass the 2-Step authentication measures for accounts by using the new phone as per normal recovery methodology. One Hacker told Motherboard, “With someone’s number you’ll be easily able to get into every account they own in just few minutes and that can’t do anything about it.”
Since from the past few months, authorities globally have cracked down on crypto related crime majorly the SIM swapping one’s. As ‘reported‘ earlier last year, in Russia, a bunch of nuclear engineers were arrested by security agents after they were caught using supercomputers to mine Bitcoin [BTC].
Even in Thailand, 3 siblings — one of whom is opera actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit — were in remission late last year in connection to a $24 Mln crypto scam targeting a Finnish capitalist.