Cryptocurrencies still appeal to sim swappers and hackers, especially since they seem untraceable, at least to an extent. Many unsuspecting crypto users continuously fall for phishing or sim swap, which leads to the loss of their digital assets.
In a recent development, the New York Supreme Court has indicted Dawson Bakies for sim swaps and the theft of cryptocurrencies from more than 50 individuals in the United States.
The accused is said to have carried out the nefarious acts right from his apartment in Ohio between October and December 2018.
According to a report from the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, 20-year old Bakies was able to access the victims’ online accounts – such as Google and crypto platforms – by linking their mobile numbers to his iPhones. This enabled him to bypass the Two Factor Authentication (2FA) associated with the accounts, and recovery codes were sent to his phones.
Using this method, Dawson Bakies was able to access 18 online accounts containing a total of $10,000 worth of cryptos owned by three victims who live in Manhattan. The indictment also revealed that he went further to demand bitcoin ransoms from the victims.
A laptop and an iPhone 6, containing dozens of password recovery messages, were retrieved during a search at Bakies’ apartment by the Manhattan authorities.
A message to all sim swappers
“We know what you’re doing, we know how to find you, and we will hold you criminally accountable, no matter where you are,” was the warning message from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., to all SIM swappers and hackers.
The District Attorney also urged wireless carrier to “to wake up to the new reality that by quickly porting SIMs.”
In August, AT&T, one of the biggest telecommunication companies in the US was accused of aiding and abetting a $24 million cryptocurrency theft.
The victim, Michael Terpin, a popular bitcoin entrepreneur, filed a lawsuit against AT&T for negligence and allowing the hacker(s) to access his wireless account to steal his crypto assets through a sim swap.