Irish Man Gets 3 Years in Prison for $2 Million Cryptocurrency Theft
Posted on November 19th, 2020 by Kyle Torpey and filed under Bitcoin.
According to The Irish Times, a 21-year old man in Ireland received a three-year sentence for his role in SIM swap attacks that led to the theft of cryptocurrency.
Conor Freeman took part in theft of over $2 million worth of cryptocurrency (at current prices), and he handed over what remained of the theft after he was arrested.
At a previous hearing, a law enforcement official told the court that Freeman was part of an online group that found people to target via social media. Once the targets were identified, the group just needed to get the target’s email and phone number to begin an attack. Freeman’s associated with this group was first identified by U.S. Homeland Security.
How did the attack work?: Some members of the online group had contacts at telecommunications companies who were willing to get involved in the cryptocurrency theft operations. These individuals at the phone companies were able to transfer victims’ phone numbers to newly-purchased SIM cards that were controlled by the attackers. At that point, the attackers could go through the “Forgot Password” protocols for various online accounts owned by the victim, including cryptocurrency exchange accounts. The proceeds from the theft were distributed evenly to all of the parties that were involved in the attack.
The group of attackers targeted three separate individuals they found on social media. One of the victims had roughly $2 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen from him. It was his entire life savings.
Freeman had spent roughly €130,000 of the profits from the thefts by the time he had been arrested. He had converted the stolen cryptocurrency into physical cash.
Kyle is the creator of The Crypto Feed. Before founding The Crypto Feed, Kyle was a longtime freelance Bitcoin writer at places like Forbes and Bitcoin Magazine.