Alleged Twitter hacker charged with theft of $784K in crypto via SIM swaps

The US Department of Justice has indicted a suspected Twitter hacker known as ‘PlugWalkJoe’ for also stealing $784,000 worth of cryptocurrency using SIM swap attacks.

SIM swap attacks are when threat actors take control of targets’ phone numbers by porting them to their own device’s SIM card. These attacks are commonly made by performing social engineering and pretending to be the target, hacking into mobile carriers’ systems, or bribing employees.

Once they perform the SIM swap, the attackers will receive victims’ messages and calls which allows bypassing SMS-based multi-factor authentication (MFA), stealing user credentials, as well taking over the victims’ online service accounts.

In the indictment unsealed today in the Southern District of New York, the DOJ claims that Joseph O’Connor, a/k/a “PlugwalkJoe,” and co-conspirators used SIM swaps to gain access to accounts for a Manhattan-based cryptocurrency company.

Using this access, the alleged hackers stole $784,000 Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin from wallets managed by the company on behalf of clients.

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