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Teenager Charged for $50 Million Cryptocurrency Theft

An eighteen-year-old from Montreal is facing 4 criminal charges linked to a $50 million cryptocurrency theft SIM-swapping scam targeting cryptocurrency holders, Infosecurity Magazine reported on Jan. 17.

The hacker, Samy Bensaci, is accused by Canadian authorities of belonging to a ring that stole countless dollars in cryptocurrency from American and Canadian holders. The theft is said to have actually happened in spring of 2018, with Québec cops representative Hugo Fournier saying that the hackers was accountable for the theft of “$ 50 million from our next-door neighbors to the south and $300,000 in Canada.”

Among the supposed victims were Don and Alex Tapscott, distinguished Canadian crypto business owners and co-authors of the book “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.”

Don Tapscott confirmed to The Star to have been targeted by the plan, while denying that the hackers prospered in taking his funds:

“We can confirm that last year a hacker attempted steal crypto assets from our company and its employees. That attempt was unsuccessful. We cooperated with the police [and] have been impressed with their determination to bring those responsible to justice.”

Bersaci was arrested in Victoria, British Columbia in November 2019. The following month, he was released on a 200,000 Canadian dollar bail ($153,000) and forbidden from accessing any online-capable gadget, including gaming consoles, along with owning or exchanging any type of cryptocurrency.

Infosecurity Magazine reports that much of the individuals allegedly targeted by the hackers had actually attended the Consensus conference in New York. Rob Ross, SIM-swapping victim and manager of StopSIMCrime.org, told Infosecurity Magazine that hackers area targets during these occasions.

What is SIM-swapping?

A SIM-swapping attack happens when the hackers have the ability to deceive the telecom company to move the victim’s phone number to the attacker’s SIM card. Though it is possible to do this by impersonating the victim with the telecom’s customer service, the companies are plagued by insiders that utilize their access to facilitate this kind of crime. With a SIM-swap, aggressors can bypass most authentication and password healing systems that count on telephone number and proceed with a cryptocurrency theft or other important information.

Cointelegraph formerly reported lots of such cases, including an August 2018 victim who took legal action against AT&T for its alleged negligence in avoiding the thefts.

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