In a shocking turn of events, a string of high profile crypto influencers have been victims of SIM swap attacks in the recent past. While many of these victims are not revealing the extent of their losses to protect their privacy, there is no denying that the attacks can be costly.
The first of these incidents occurred in late 2019, when the Twitter account of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was hacked in a SIM swap attack. Buterin reported the breach in a tweet, and said the attacker managed to access his phone number and had subsequently reset his Google account. The hacker had also taken control of multiple other accounts, such as MyEtherWallet, Coinbase and Binance, before withdrawing funds in the form of cryptocurrency. Buterin suffered a loss of around $225,000 in cryptocurrency during the attack.
In early 2020, TRON founder Justin Sun was the victim of a SIM swap attack while holidaying in Hawaii. Sun had the SIM card in his phone shut down by the attackers, allowing them to access and control his accounts. The hackers accessed Sun’s TRON-related accounts and were able to siphon 17 million TRX tokens (worth roughly $150,000 at the time).
In May of 2020, the co-founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, also suffered a SIM swap attack. The attackers were able to access both his Google accounts and his Binance accounts. The extent of the losses is still not known to this day, but it is believed that the hackers managed to withdraw some of Zhao’s funds.
Finally, in June of 2020, crypto whale Michael terpin was the victim of a SIM swap attack. The attack led to massive losses of over $24 million worth of crypto assets, with attackers even transferring money from his PayPal account.
All of these incidents are a reminder of the importance of protecting your device, especially when it comes to storing crypto assets. It is recommended that crypto users adopt strong security measures such as two-factor authentication (2FA), mobile device encryption, and only trading on secure exchanges.