Hacker sentenced to imprisonment for stealing 100 million yen from US virtual currency company in SIM swap attack


Unauthorized access to cryptocurrency companies

On the 23rd, the federal prosecutor’s office for the Southern District of New York state, United States, accused Joseph of the United Kingdom of stealing virtual currency worth approximately 110 million yen ($794,000) from a US crypto asset (virtual currency) company in 2019. * James O’Connor has been sentenced to five years in prison.

O’Connor carried out a cyber intrusion into the victimized company in a technique known as a SIM swap attack. The name of the victim company has not been disclosed.

A SIM swap attack is a fraudulent method in which a malicious attacker obtains a victim’s mobile phone number and attempts to access online accounts and services. It’s a criminal act of sending the victim’s calls and messages to the criminal’s device by linking it to a SIM card that you control.

Defendant O’Connor and his co-conspirators carried out a SIM swap attack against a targeted cryptocurrency exchange executive. It successfully compromised the company’s accounts and computer systems.

In May 2019, O’Connor and others stole various denominations of cryptocurrency from two cryptocurrency wallets managed by the company that contained customer assets. At the time it was stolen, it was worth at least 110 million yen (about $794,000), but it is now worth more than 230 million yen ($1.6 million).

In addition, O’Connor and others laundered the stolen cryptocurrencies through dozens of transfers and transactions, and used cryptocurrency trading services to exchange some of them for Bitcoin (BTC).

Ultimately, some of the stolen cryptocurrency was deposited into a cryptocurrency exchange account controlled by defendant O’Connor.

Involved in Twitter hijacking incident in 2020

In addition, O’Connor has admitted to being involved in the Twitter hijacking incident in July 2020.

It is a form of unauthorized access to the management tool used by Twitter to operate. O’Connor and his co-conspirators used this tool to allow them to manipulate Twitter accounts externally.

O’Connor’s co-conspirators posted fraudulent Twitter accounts and sold account access to others. O’Connor also allegedly communicated with third parties to sell access to various accounts around the world, including celebrity accounts.

In July 2020, the Twitter accounts of former President Obama, Apple Inc., major virtual currency exchange Binance, etc. were hijacked, and giveaway scams such as “If you send bitcoin, it will be doubled and returned.” .

The final amount of damage was worth 12 million yen. After that, Graham Clark, who was a minor at the time, was arrested and in March 2021, he was sentenced to three years in prison, followed by three years of probation.

O’Connor has admitted to hijacking the accounts of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and others, along with three co-conspirators.

No details have been released about the relationship between O’Connor and Clark, including whether they co-conspired in the case, but it means that O’Connor was involved in the case in addition to Clark.

connection: A case of deceiving bitcoin by hijacking Twitter, the criminal was convicted of 3 years in prison

O’Connor also pleaded guilty to hijacking TikTok and Snapchat accounts, as well as stalking and threatening minor victims.

What is a giveaway scam?

A fraudulent method of deceiving victims by claiming that they can get something for free and making them remit virtual currency. There are many cases where it is done on SNS such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

▶Cryptocurrency Glossary

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