23 Nov Phone SIM card scam nets NY hacker cool crypto million
A New York City hacker used a smartphone SIM scam to steal more than $1 million from a wealthy Silicon Valley resident.
The New York Post calls 21-year-old Manhattan resident Nicholas Truglia the “Billy the Kid of bitcoin” for his exploits.
Truglia managed to use the SIM card switch scam to hack into several wealthy Silicon Valley residents’ smartphones including Saswata Basu, CEO of 0Chain, a blockchain storage service, Gabrielle Katsnelson, co-founder of the startup SMBX, and another executive Myles Danielson.
The hacker hoped to use their mobile phone identities to steal cryptocurrency and it worked in one big payoff.
Stole $1 million in crypto from CA resident
Truglia hacked San Francisco victim Robert Ross’s SIM card. When Ross suddenly lost his iPhone signal on Oct 26, he headed to an Apple Store for help. By the time he contacted his mobile service provider AT&T, it was too late.
Ross’s accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Gemini, linked via his smartphone, were compromised and $500,000 stolen from each account.
In media reports, Ross said the stolen cryptocurrency represented his entire life savings as well as his daughters’ college funds.
$300K recovered from computer
A SIM swap typically happens when mobile phones are lost, replaced or service upgraded and the service provider transfers SIM card information to a new device. Many consumers now use smartphones for banking and two-step identification, so identity and information theft can be a problem.
Deputy DA Erin West of Santa Clara Superior Court told the New York Post, “It’s a new way of doing an old crime. It’s a pervasive problem, and it involves millions of dollars.”
On November 14 investigators arrested Truglia and recovered $300,000 from computers in the hacker’s 42nd-floor luxury New York City apartment. The investigation continues while the hacker awaits extradition to Santa Clara, CA to face charges.
Ironically, in September Truglia was beaten and tortured by four friends after a night of drinking and forced to reveal his cryptocurrency account information in order to steal from him.
The New York Post reported, “Truglia woke up the next day and noticed that his iPhone, laptop, and hardware wallet had disappeared. He immediately reported it to the authorities.” The four friends are scheduled to appear in New York court in March 2019.
Visuals from Nicholas Truglia’s Tumbler & Twitter accounts; Billy the Kid courtesy Wikipedia