Authorities in the U.S. have announced that they have been successful in breaking a ring of hackers who had been running a scam to hijack SIM cards and steal cryptocurrency
from the victims of the crime. Court documents in the case allege that the group, known as "The Community," had stolen about $2.4 million in cryptocurrency. Six people from the hacking ring were named in court documents in the case.
The indictment came from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, and it alleges that six people living around the U.S. and Ireland were part of The Community. The SIM hijacking scheme that the group pulled off involved them using bribery or trickery to convince mobile phone carriers to transfer a phone number to a new SIM card. Once the hackers had access to the phone number via the SIM card hijack, they were able to bypass two-factor authentication and gain control over the victim's accounts.
The scam frequently involved taking over the victim's cryptocurrency wallet to gain access to their funds. The group allegedly used the technique seven times to steal cryptocurrency. A sperate complaint filed in conjunction with the scam charged three mobile phone company operators with accepting bribes as part of the crime. The alleged hackers in the case face several fraud and identity theft charges.
The phone company operators charged in the crime are facing wire fraud charges. Each person named in the indictment faces decades in prison if convicted. Cryptocurrency theft has been a major target for hackers and malware. In February a cryptocurrency-stealing malware was discovered on Google Play.