Turkish SIM Swapping Phone Hackers Responsible for Swindling $80,000 Worth of Bitcoin “Finally Busted”
As per a statement released by the national Turkish law enforcement agency, the government body claims that it has arrested a total of 11 individuals who were allegedly involved in the stealing of crypto assets via a method known as ‘Sim Swapping’.
How did the entire operation work?
According to a respected local media outlet, the miscreants started off by manufacturing fake ID’s in an attempt to impersonate unsuspecting alt-coin holders. By persuading phone dealers that their devices had been stolen, the hackers managed to procure new sim cards (using false identities). Following this, the hackers then proceeded to cancel the owner’s real sim card and then resetting any passwords using a technique involving Two-Factor Authentications (2FA).
As a result of their nefarious activities, the hackers were able to steal a whopping sum of around $80,000 (only to be caught by the police once they were made aware of these activities). It is also worth mentioning that $80K roughly translates to around 437,000 Lira (Turkey’s national currency).
More on the matter
A series of other reports indicate that the miscreants were caught using their IP addresses on various crypto exchanges. Upon being apprehended, Turkish authorities found a host of illegal items such as a gun, 18 smartphones, 20 flash memory drives, 5 laptops, 3 disks, 2 fake driver’s licenses along with other fake IDs and cards to be in possession of the group.
While the individuals in question have not been named, ten of the accused have remained in custody since their apprehension (with one person having been released on bail).
This case is interesting to say the least since the scale and means of the operation appear to be quite sophisticated. However, in the midst of all this, the hackers were apparently not savvy enough to make use of a basic VPN service or even some other IP obfuscation method to protect their identities.
With that being said, one has to give credit to the Istanbul Crime Branch for dealing with this situation swiftly and in a timely fashion.