Eric Meiggs, 21, of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Declan Harrington, 20, of Rockport, Massachusetts, were arrested and charged in an 11-count indictment. The two men were charged with with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and abuse and one count of aggravated identity theft. This is according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the press release, Eric Meiggs and Declan Harrington allegedly targeted executives of cryptocurrency companies and others who likely had significant amounts of cryptocurrency.
The two individuals allegedly schemed to steal more than R8 100 000,00 in cryptocurrency from around 10 different individuals, and according to the press release secured access to two social media accounts.
Those involved with this national scheme used an illegal practice known as “SIM-swapping” and other techniques to access, take control of, and in some cases steal cryptocurrency from, the accounts.
SIM swapping involves an individual duping your cell provider into believing that you are activating your SIM card on another device.
This is how hackers can steal your phone number and associate it with a SIM card of their own.
If successful, this attack will deactivate your device, while the new device with the hacker’s SIM card will become the destination for all texts, phone calls, data, and accounts tied to your phone number and your SIM card.
With your information obtained from the sim swap, the hacker could easily gain access to your app accounts, personal data, and in this case gain access to your social media accounts or steal cryptocurrency.
Numerous individuals have lost access to their social media accounts and have had their cryptocurrency assets stolen.
Those active in the cryptocurrency space should stay alert of the threat of SIM Swapping and know how to respond should they become a victim to one of these attacks.
According to CNBC, in another case, Eric Meiggs allegedly harassed a Michigan-based victim, sending the victim messages showing that he knew his and his mother’s addresses, and threatening to kill the victim’s wife if he did not give up his Instagram handle.
More recently, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was hit with a SIM swap attack on 30 August, allowing hackers to post racist and anti-Semitic tweets to his account.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI. Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart, Chief of the Cybercrime Unit, are prosecuting the case.
The press release further states that the details contained in the charging documents are allegations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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Leigh Williams is the founder at IXA Media (Pty) Ltd., a digital marketing solutions provider and the publisher of CryptoLive.co.za