20-Year Old Crypto Hacker sent to 10 years in Prison
20-year-old Joel Ortiz has pleaded guilty to theft and accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison after it was revealed that he has stolen almost $5 million in cryptocurrency from 40 victims through SIM swapping hacks.
Ortiz accepted the plea deal last week, according to Erin West, the Deputy District Attorney of Santa Clara County, California. He will officially be sentenced on Mar 14. Authorities reportedly state that Ortiz is the first individual convicted of a crime for SIM swapping.
Samy Tarazi , one of the agents who investigated Ortiz said “We think justice has been served. And hopefully, this is a strong message to that community,”.
The SIM swapping hack is increasingly popular with criminals as a medium of stealing fiat, crypto, and even social media usernames and handles, which can subsequently be sold on the Darkweb. It was also revealed that the Instagram account “@t” reportedly sold for $40,000 in Bitcoin (BTC).
SIM swapping works in such a way that, Hackers will contact a telecoms company while posing as their target and claim that their SIM card has been lost, and that they would like their number to be ported to a new SIM card. The criminals can convince phone companies that they are who they claim to be by providing social security numbers or addresses.
Immediately the telecoms company transfers the number to a new SIM, hackers can easily bypass the two-step authentication measures for accounts by using the phone as a recovery method. It is a well-known fact that with someone’s phone number, you can get into every account they own within minutes and they can’t do anything about it.