BTC Wires: California legal authorities have arrested a 19-year old hacker by the name of Xzavyer Narvaez for hijacking phones and stealing virtual currencies. He has been charged with 7 counts of cyber crime, identity fraud, and grand theft.
Narvaez’s DMV records showed his purchase of a 2018 McLaren, which was paid partially in BTC and partially by trading a 2012 Audi R8. Payments service BitPay and crypto-exchange Bittrex also provided his transaction records showing a movement of 156 BTC (~$1 million). Earlier this year, Joel Ortiz was arrested for hijacking phone numbers to steal cryptocurrencies in a first-of-its-kind crime.
A mobile phone used by Ortiz had at some point of time logged onto Narvaez’s Gmail account, which is how suspicions arose. The authorites also received from providers AT&T the unique ID numbers of the phones that were utilised to hack the victims’ numbers, the coordinates of the phone towers that they rode on, and the perpetrator’s phone records. The data showed that Narvaez’s cell was connected to the same tower as one of the fraudulent phones used for the hijacking, at the same time.
Phone hijacking, also dubbed “SIM swapping” or port out scam is the procedure of making service providers shift a target’s phone number from the original SIM card to one held by the perpetrator. Once in control of the phone number, the hacker can use it to access all secure accounts of the victims and reset any passwords, including e-mail accounts and any accounts made with crypto-exchanges.
Various criminals use various strategies to achieve this fraud. Some hackers convince the customer service agents involved that they are indeed the victim, and thus send them valuable data. Others sometimes use insiders within the telecom firm that are paid for illegally swapping the cards.
Crypto-investor Michael Terpin sued AT&T last week for $224 million, making claims of a theft of $24 million in alt-coins that were stolen from his accounts. He currently looks to obtain $24 million in compensation and another $200 million in damages.
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