Inspired by the Tech & Main episode The Fight Against SIM Swapping, we decided to do some research on SIM swapping. What we found was that its common and hackers have an easy time stealing your phone number and information. SIM swapping can lead to some heavy financial damage.
When was the last time you even thought about a SIM card? This little plastic chip is actually very important as it informs your device the cellular network to connect to and what phone number to use. Wireless providers have safeguards in place, like PINs, passwords, and requiring IDs, but if a hacker has some basic information they’re able to rack up a lot of destruction.
These cybercriminals typically do this over the phone with your wireless provider.
They provide the wireless provider rep some basic information like name, address, and birthdate. Surprisingly, a recent study done by Princeton University found that even if they had given the wrong information the person could still end up making the SIM swap. The individual tells the wireless provider representative that they couldn’t remember what information they provided or some other excuse. The wireless provider is then required to ask for other information such as the last two numbers called on the device. This is especially easy for these hackers as they have likely sent a text requesting the owner to call a number for a prize or something they had signed up for. This is most easily done on vulnerable groups of people such as the elderly.
The study showed that all 5 major wireless providers had allowed a SIM swap under these false pretenses.
Once the hacker has convinced the wireless provider to make the swap, they now have access to all texts and calls that would normally go to the owner’s device. That would be incredibly frustrating, but why is this such a hazard? First, they can make expensive premium phone calls and they’ll show up on your invoice. They can also make device purchases and you wouldn’t know until the next invoice. And most unfortunately, the hacker can now use your number to change passwords and account information on bank accounts, emails, social media, and other sensitive accounts and continue to cause financial damage. Multi-factor authentication is a great tool to keep accounts safe, but when a hacker has found a way to surpass this, the damage can be done quickly and without anyone noticing at first. There are fortunately other ways to set up multi-factor authentication like through apps or even additional security measures through your wireless provider.
Staying vigilant and not accepting offers that look suspicious is the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Be sure to inform those who may be vulnerable about the dangers of clicking mysterious links or answering calls and providing information to unknown numbers. This is the easiest way in for hackers to cause damage quickly.
This hack can readily impact regular consumers and business consumers. That’s why Verify! did extensive research on the pros and cons of BYOD for businesses. One of the major disadvantages of BYOD is the lack of security that businesses can assuredly place on devices not under their control. And one of the biggest advantages of BYOD is the lower cost associated. What if you could have both? A Verify! cellular analysis provides an inventory of accounts with cost-cutting recommendations of an average of 31%. That allows your business to stay on top of security measures and see savings. Call us today to get started. And if we can’t find any savings, we won’t send you an invoice. Guaranteed.