Europol, the European police company, mentioned on Wednesday it had helped arrest 10 hackers suspected of stealing $100 million US in cryptocurrency as a part of “SIM-swapping” assaults that allowed suspects to achieve entry to their victims’ telephones.
“The assaults orchestrated by this legal gang focused 1000’s of victims all through 2020, together with well-known web influencers, sport stars, musicians and their households,” the company mentioned in a press release.
The arrests have been made after an investigation with co-operation from Britain, the USA, Belgium, Malta and Canada, Europol mentioned.
It wasn’t instantly clear what position Canadian legislation enforcement companies performed, however a launch from the European company listed the RCMP, Hamilton Police Service, Toronto Police Service and Edmonton Police Service as collaborating within the operation.
In a SIM-swapping assault, criminals can acquire management over a SIM — the small pc chip that carries a telephone quantity used to establish a buyer on a telecommunication community. Normally a telephone firm is tricked into deactivating a working SIM and transferring its features to at least one managed by the hackers.
“This enabled [hackers] to steal cash, cryptocurrencies and private data, together with contacts synced with on-line accounts,” Europol mentioned in a press assertion detailing the operation.
“Additionally they hijacked social media accounts to put up content material and ship messages, masquerading because the sufferer.”
Europol didn’t establish the victims or say the place the arrests passed off. It suggested the general public to not use providers that use textual content messages to assist log in to on-line accounts, as these are susceptible in SIM-swapping assaults, which it mentioned are on the rise.
One of the crucial notable victims of a SIM-swapping assault prior to now was Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in 2019.