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How a SIM Swapping Hack Can Breach Your Security

Your phone number can be a powerful attack vector for hackers because it’s tied to most of your digital and financial security. Just imagine if a threat actor had access to your SIM card. With your phone number, they could impersonate you and breach your financial, email, or social media accounts. 

For example, alongside your phone number, all they need is data mined from your social media pages to trick your credit card company into believing that they’re you. Once they’ve fooled your bank, they can drain your account, get a new credit card, or apply for loans. 

What Is a SIM Swapping Hack?

Here is how SIM swapping hacks work. A thief calls your cellular service company and pretends to be you. To pass authentication measures, they may use publicly available data like your name, address, birthday, and more. They may also leverage data from a successful phishing or smishing attack. After deceiving your cell phone provider, they lock your current SIM and ask for a new one. With your new SIM, they can engage in various scams. 

Are SIM Swapping Hacks a Thing?

SIM swapping may seem like a story out of a crime novel, but unfortunately, it’s far from fictitious. One of the most famous victims of the scam is Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey. Scammers used the technique for a Twitter hack of his account. With SIM swapping, cybercriminals have also hacked high-profile Instagram accounts and regularly pull off devastating bitcoin hacks. 

Signs of a SIM swapping hack

You need to react fast if you suspect that you’re the target of a SIM swapping attack because a criminal can commit identity theft or numerous financial crimes within minutes. Here are some signs you should watch out for:

  • No service: Many mobile service providers will deactivate your old SIM card when issuing a new one. Call your cellular company immediately from a landline or an alternative number if you can’t access your mobile network without reason. 
  • SIM card alerts: You may receive an alert on your phone about the request for a new SIM card. 
  • Security alerts: Your mobile phone company may text a security alert if they suspect foul play. Likewise, you may receive notifications on your email if someone uses your phone number to modify your usernames or passwords. 

How to stop SIM swapping hacks

You must be proactive to stop SIM swapping hacks. Start by calling your cellular provider and setting a security PIN. You should also put a freeze on SIM replacements. With a freeze, no one can request a new SIM without a secret code. 

Additionally, run an online malware scan regularly to prevent hackers from using spyware, keyloggers, Trojans, and other malware to steal your data for SIM swapping scams. Please also avoid sharing sensitive information on social media like your birthdate or address that hackers can farm for SIM swapping hacks. 

Finally, train yourself to recognize phishing and smishing messages that criminals employ to steal data. And don’t hesitate to contact the authorities if you’re the target of a SIM hijacking gang

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