Why crypto investors might want to think twice about giving out their phone numbers

August 20, 2018

 

Hackers are using a method known as “SIM swapping” to steal phone numbers and in some cases, use them to take millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. This week, a California man sued his wireless carrier AT&T for $224 million after criminals used the method to steal $24 million from an cryptocurrency exchange. “Once hackers get access to your private keys, they own your money and you’re screwed,” says Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital. You forget a password to a website or log in from a new computer, and get locked out of your account. The website or your bank sends a text to confirm it's you. Most of the time it is.But the person receiving that text could be a hacker. Criminals are using a method known as "SIM swapping" to take over phone number accounts by duping wireless carriers, and in some cases stealing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency."In online banking, if someone gets into your account there's ways to get the money back," said Kyle Samani, managing partner at crypto hedge fund Multicoin Capital. "In crypto, if hackers get access to your your private keys, they own your money and you're screwed."This week, a California man sued AT&T for $224 million after hackers used his number to steal $24 million worth of cryptocurrency stored on an online exchange. The plaintiff Michael Terpin accused AT&T of negligence, and likened it to "a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner."

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