Hacker Steals $1 Million In Crypto Using Man’s Phone Number

Nicholas Truglia, 21, hacked into a San Francisco man's phone to lift $1 million worth of crypto from two different exchanges. This theft is known as "SIM swapping."

Who could have thought losing a phone signal means you’re getting hacked? Yes, it recently happened. Robert Ross, who lives in San Francisco got hacked. However, the hacker stole a large amount of cryptocurrency from his wallet.

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CNBC reports that the man noticed his phone suddenly lost its signal on Oct. 26. He’s said to have gone to a nearby Apple store and also contacted his service provider, AT&T. However, he wasn’t quick enough, unfortunately. Santa Clara officials stated that the hacker stole separate $500,000 from two accounts he had at Coinbase and Gemini.

According to a felony complaint filed this month in California state court, prosecutors say Nicholas Truglia, 21, had also hacked the phones of multiple Silicon Valley executives but unable to rob them.

“It’s a new way of stealing of money: They target people that they believe to have cryptocurrency,” Erin West, the deputy district attorney of Santa Clara County told CNBC.

The deputy district attorney said Ross had been saving that money for his daughters’ college funds. He decided to store it in U.S. dollars on the crypto exchanges.

Blockchain To The Rescue

The blockchain records every cryptocurrency transactions which can be seen by anyone, even if the identity of senders and receivers are anonymous.

Erin West admitted to CNBC that the blockchain is helpful to see where monies are going. She says “that’s the beauty of the blockchain.”

Cryptocurrency trading, especially Bitcoin, has become widely popular since the price of bitcoin reached an astonishing high of $20, 000 last year. Other cryptocurrencies like Ripple made investors’ up to 36, 000 percent in 2017. However, with so much money, hacks increased too.

Crypto Hackers Evolving New Scam Schemes

The State of Blockchain Report says individuals in the crypto industry lost up to $1.6 billion at the end of June. There have been other prominent victims too. That list includes Saswata Basu, the CEO of blockchain storage service 0Chain; Gabrielle Katsnelson, co-founder of start-up SMBX, and Myles Danielson, a hedge-fund executive.

“SIM-swapping” schemes like that of Truglia accomplishes by hackers tricking wireless store employees to assign your phone number to their device. These hackers find a way to provide pieces of private information like a birthday or a Social Security number. This method is mostly in the United States though. Moreover, phone companies in other countries usually have different requirements.

Crypto experts often recommend that investors keep their funds in a cold storage – a crypto wallet not connected to the internet. That makes your cryptocurrencies harder to steal. Truglia has to face 21 counts. According to court documents, they include

  • Identity theft
  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Attempted grand theft

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Akeredolu Feranmi

Akeredolu is a guest author at coinpedia. He explores and writes about crypto coins, the latest updates, and more.

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