Joel Ortiz, a 20 year old hacker, involved in a series of SIM swapping incidents, has pleaded guilty to the charge of theft accounting for $5 million, in crypto assets, from 40 victims, states a report published on Feb.1.
The report also added that the crypto hacker has accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison last week.
His official sentencing, according to Erin West, the Deputy District Attorney of Santa Clara County, California, is set to take place on Mar.14.
This would seem like a big victory for the authorities as they claim Ortiz to be the first suspect to have undergone a trial and to have been convicted for his crime of SIM swapping.
The SIM swapping technique is quite simple to execute for those in the know. Fraudsters make calls to telecom companies, claim to have lost their SIM cards, asking in turn for their number to be ported to a new SIM. The next step is to provide security numbers and addresses for verification to the telecom companies after which the company issues you a new card, which is quite easily dealt with.
The authentication required for access to literally any account can be bypassed using the phone as a recovery method. One hacker also claimed that after acquiring somebody’s phone number, they could potentially gain access to every account an individual has, with the biggest advantage being that the owner has no control over these activities, being carried out from his SIM number.
This conviction also doubles up as a victory for victims of SIM swapping, who had started an initiative last month, StopSIMCrime, which was focused on raising awareness on the issue that many people are still in the dark about.