April 19, 2024
FTX $400M Hack Linked to SIM-Swap, 3 Charged
Latest Cryptocurrency News

FTX $400M Hack Linked to SIM-Swap, 3 Charged

Three individuals, Robert Powell, Carter Rohn, and Emily Hernandez, have been charged by U.S. prosecutors for orchestrating SIM-swap attacks linked to the $400 million FTX hack in 2022. The filing alleges that Hernandez impersonated an employee of “Victim Company-1,” believed to be FTX, leading to Powell gaining unauthorized access and transferring over $400 million in virtual currency from crypto wallets.

Blockchain security firm Elliptic suggests that FTX is likely the mentioned company, as it experienced multiple unauthorized transactions after filing for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, 2022. The stolen funds were reportedly moved through different bridges and blockchains in an attempt to launder them.

SIM-swapping involves stealing identities to convince telecom providers to port victims’ numbers to the attackers’ phones, allowing them to intercept multifactor authentication codes. This technique was used in a series of attacks in December 2023, targeting high-profile crypto figures and projects.

FTX CEO John J. Ray III acknowledged the exchange’s security vulnerabilities and lack of proper systems, making it a potential target for the alleged SIM swappers. Powell, Rohn, and Hernandez face charges of wire fraud conspiracy and identity theft.

The incident underscores the persistent threat of cyberattacks in the cryptocurrency space and highlights the importance of robust security measures to safeguard digital assets. The FTX case also raises questions about the industry’s overall preparedness to mitigate the risks associated with SIM-swapping attacks.

The alleged involvement of Powell, Rohn, and Hernandez in multiple SIM-swap attacks, including the high-profile FTX hack, emphasizes the need for collaboration between the crypto industry and law enforcement agencies to address cybersecurity challenges effectively. As the cryptocurrency sector continues to evolve, strengthening security measures and implementing proactive strategies to counter emerging threats remain critical priorities.

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