LONDON (AP) — Police have arrested 10 individuals in the U.K., Belgium and Malta for allegedly hijacking cellphones belonging to U.S. celebrities including internet influencers, sports activities stars and musicians to spend non-public information and millions in cryptocurrency, authorities mentioned.
The European Union police agency Europol mentioned Wednesday that the gang is believed to have stolen bigger than $100 million in cryptocurrencies by using so-called SIM swap assaults.
These assaults involve deactivating a victim’s cell mobile phone SIM card, either by tricking the mobile phone firm or using a substandard insider, so that the amount might presumably presumably even be transferred to yet one more card below the gang’s sustain watch over.
The arrests had been the outcome of a joint investigation by U.K., U.S., Canadian, Belgian and Maltese police, Europol mentioned.
Europol didn’t specify the nationalities of these caught in the sweep, but the U.K.’s National Crime Agency mentioned a day earlier that eight men had been arrested in England and Scotland. Two others had been arrested beforehand in Belgium and Malta, Europol mentioned.
Neither agency diagnosed the celebrity victims.
Investigators found that after accessing victims’ mobile phone numbers, they had been in a contrivance to resolve sustain watch over of apps or accounts by requesting password reset codes despatched by process of SMS. Then they had been in a contrivance to spend cash, cryptocurrencies and private information, including contacts synced online, in addition to hack into and put up from social media accounts, Europol mentioned.
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Europol has warned that SIM swapping is a growing threat performed by fraudsters.