According to recent reports, AT&T might be responsible for the loss of $24 million in cryptocurrency, after the cell phone of a digital currency investor was hacked. With this in mind, Michael Turpin is suing the telecom firm for $224 million, after the company reportedly failed to protect his smartphone data.
As part of his lawsuit, the investor claims that AT&T employees are complicit in a SIM swap scam, where hackers attempt to gain access to phone data via social engineering. In other words, for this scam to work, criminals are known to pose as the owner of a victims’ phone number, hence convincing the customer support teams of telecom providers to grant access to the phone in question. By doing this, attackers get access to a variety of accounts, including digital currency wallets.
According to Terpin, his account has been hacked two times over the past seven months. In a press statement, he mentioned that: "most troubling, AT&T has not improved its protections even though it knows from numerous incidents that some of its employees actively cooperate with hackers in SIM swap frauds by giving hackers direct access to customer information and by overriding AT&T's security procedures (…) mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency cannot take place as long as phone company employees are handing over critical unauthorized access to the heart of everyone's digital lives."
In fact, the case plaintiff stated that: "In recent incidents, law enforcement has even confirmed that AT&T employees profited from working directly with cyber terrorists and thieves in SIM swap frauds".
According to the lawsuit, the cryptocurrency investor is seeking his $23.8 million back, alongside $200 million as punitive damages.
At this moment in time, it is difficult to predict what the outcome of the lawsuit will be, granted the little amount of information available. However, as the investigation commences, more information about the case will become available.
In a comment on the issue, the telecom provider’s director for corporate communications, Jim Greer, said that AT&T will dispute the allegations, and that the company is looking forward to presenting the case in court.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what are your thoughts on attackers being able to use social engineering to gain access to cryptocurrency wallets? Let us know in the comment section below.