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Crypto Christmas Chaos as SIM-Swap Surge Hits Big Names

Key Takeaways
  • SIM-swap attacks hit Manifold Trading and Rug Radio founders, underscoring crypto industry vulnerability to sophisticated hacking.
  • Decouple 2FA from mobile numbers to thwart SIM-swap threats, emphasises blockchain sleuth ZachXBT.
  • Escalating cyber threats demand heightened digital defences, urging the crypto community to secure accounts amid Christmas vulnerabilities.
22-Dec-2023 By: Gunjan Sahu
Crypto Christmas Cha

Manifold Trading and Rug Radio Caught in Holiday SIM-Swap Attacks

In the lead-up to Christmas, a wave of SIM-swapping attacks has hit prominent figures in the crypto industry, including founders of Manifold Trading and Rug Radio. This alarming trend highlights the vulnerability of individuals within the crypto space to sophisticated hacking techniques.

Manifold Trading's Twitter Compromised and Rug Radio Founder Assures Followers

On December 22, a skilled SIM-swap hacker seized control of the official X (formerly Twitter) account of Manifold Trading, alongside its co-founder Jae Chung. The attacker proceeded to share malicious links leading to crypto-draining sites. 

Despite protective measures like email and password security, Chung confirmed the compromise was due to a SIM-swap attack. Notably, only the Twitter account was affected, and steps are being taken to restore normal functionality while safeguarding sensitive information.

Similarly, on December 21, Farokh, the pseudonymous founder of Rug Radio, fell victim to a SIM-swap attack. Despite the breach, he assured followers that his phone number was not linked to his Twitter account. Rug Radio, having recently announced a merger with crypto publication Decrypt, underscores the increasing attractiveness of crypto-related entities as targets.

Understanding SIM-Swap Attacks and Protective Measures

A SIM swap hack is a targeted fraud where attackers gain control of a victim's phone number, providing access to bank accounts, credit cards, and crypto-related accounts that rely on SMS verification. This method has become a prevalent threat, exploiting the reliance on mobile numbers for authentication.

To thwart potential SIM-swap attacks, it is crucial for individuals to decouple two-factor authentication (2FA) from their mobile numbers. This precautionary step minimises the risk of unauthorised access to sensitive accounts.

Blockchain sleuth ZachXBT emphasised the importance of using authenticator apps like Google Authenticator in an August 23 post on X. Such apps eliminate the vulnerability associated with telecommunication data theft. The reminder comes after a concerning trend of hackers syphoning over $13.3 million from 54 high-profile figures in the four months leading up to August.

Growing Trend of Attacks

The recent spate of exploits reflects a broader trend of attackers targeting crypto-related projects and users. This trend is reminiscent of an October 4 incident when users of the social finance platform Friendtech reported falling victim to a SIM swap exploit. Notably, a pseudonymous user, "froggie.eth," revealed a substantial loss of over 20 Ether (ETH), valued at approximately $44,000 at the time.

As the crypto community faces escalating threats, securing accounts through robust authentication methods becomes imperative. The holiday season serves as a stark reminder for individuals and entities to fortify their digital defences against the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

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