Store manager admits SIM swapping his customers | Malware

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A 42-year-old manager at an unnamed telecommunications company has admitted SIM swapping customers at his store.

SIM swapping, also known as SIM jacking, is the act of illegally taking over a target’s cell phone number and re-routing it to a phone under the attacker’s control.

Once an attacker has successfully hijacked their victim’s mobile number, they can use it to send and receive calls and messages (and the victim can’t). For that reason, SIM swapping can be used to get around two-factor authentication (2FA) codes sent by SMS message. Armed with an email and password—which are easily bought online— and the 2FA code, an attacker could take over the victim’s online accounts.

SIM swapping can be done in a number of ways, but perhaps the most common involves a social engineering attack on the victim’s carrier. However, if you have a telecoms manager on your payroll then there’s no need for social engineering—they can just do the SIM swap for you.

In May 2021, Jonathan Katz, aka “Luna” was employed as a manager at a telecoms store. Using managerial credentials, he swapped the SIM numbers associated with customers’ phone numbers into mobile devices controlled by another individual, enabling this person to control the customers’ phones and access the customers’ electronic accounts – including email, social media, and cryptocurrency accounts.

In exchange, Katz received $1,000 per SIM swap and a percentage of the revenue from the compromised phone number. He was paid in Bitcoin, which was traced back to Katz’s cryptocurrency account.

Katz pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court on March 12, 2024, to a charge of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a protected…

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