sim swapping

The recent T-Mobile data breach(es) was one of the largest in history, affecting over 50 million customers. The hackers were able to access customers’ names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and other sensitive information. Most importantly, the hackers got away with the entire dataset that T-Mobile had for most of those customers.

The result is that those customers are now at a significantly greater risk of being the victim of what’s known as a SIM Swapping attack.

SIM Swapping involves convincing a mobile phone carrier to transfer a victim’s phone number to a new SIM card controlled by the attacker. This fraud is usually accomplished by being able to provide to the carrier answers to questions about personal information that the carrier then checks against the information in its dataset. This type of attack (generally) relies not on the security readiness of the individual, but on weaknesses in the mobile phone industry to gain access to your phone number.

Once the attacker has control of the phone number, they can use it to access the victim’s accounts and steal their money. It’s a particularly dangerous attack if the person relies on their phone as an element of any multi-factor authentication, especially via text message (SMS).

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What is “SIM Swapping,” and how can it be used against you;
  • Why the T-Mobile data breach(es) are so concerning;
  • The need for mobile phone companies to improve their security measures to prevent SIM swapping attacks; and
  • The steps we can all take to limit the effectiveness of this type of attack.

For more information, resources, and a transcript of this episode, check out the original post.

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