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SIM Swapping and how to prevent becoming a victim

Sim Swapping

SIM Swapping and how to prevent becoming a victim.

We often see articles on security breaches within organisations and automatically think it’s due to hackers gaining access via malware, ransomware, and phishing. However, did you know about SIM swapping?

Smartphones have become integral to our personal and professional lives. From communication to banking, we rely on our mobile devices for various tasks. However, with the rise of sophisticated cybercrimes, we must know the dangers of using smartphones. One such threat is SIM swapping, a technique hackers use to gain unauthorised access to our personal information and accounts. This blog post will explore the dangers of SIM swapping and discuss effective preventive measures.

What is SIM swapping?

SIM swapping, SIM hijacking or SIM jacking involves a hacker fraudulently obtaining control over a victim’s mobile phone number. This is typically done by tricking the victim’s mobile service provider into transferring the phone number to a SIM card controlled by the hacker. Once the hacker has control over the phone number, they can use it to reset passwords, gain access to accounts, and carry out various forms of identity theft. The T-Mobile giant fell victim to such an attack.

The dangers of SIM swapping:

  • Identity theft: By taking control of your phone number, hackers can bypass two-factor authentication (2FA) and gain access to your online accounts. They can then steal sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, financial data, and login credentials.
  • Financial loss: With access to your online banking and payment accounts, hackers can empty your bank account, make unauthorised transactions, and even apply for loans or credit cards in your name.
  • Reputation damage: In some cases, hackers may use your compromised accounts to send malicious emails, messages, or posts, tarnishing your reputation and potentially causing harm to your personal and professional relationships.

Prevention measures

Recently, our SOC team has started to see a rise in SIM Swapping. Being aware of such criminal attacks, our team makes every effort to be more vigilant and educate our internal staff and customers. So, how can you prevent SIM Swapping from happening to you?

The following prevention measures will help you avoid becoming the victim of such foul play.

  1. Enable strong authentication: Instead of relying solely on SMS-based 2FA, opt for more secure methods like authenticator apps or hardware security keys. These methods generate unique codes that are not tied to your phone number.
  2. Use a virtual phone number: Consider using a virtual phone number for more sensitive accounts. These numbers are not tied to your physical SIM card, making it harder for hackers to gain control.
  3. Protect your personal information: Avoid sharing personal information, such as your phone number and account details, on public platforms or with unfamiliar individuals.

Phil Keating, a senior crime reviewer at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said, “Be very conscious of not putting personal identifiable information in the public domain, such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name, names of their pets – the common things that usually are used as memorable information and passwords. If that information is just out there and easy to get hold of it will be easy for individuals to exploit that.”

4. Be cautious of phishing attempts: Be vigilant while responding to emails, messages, or phone calls requesting personal information. Verify the authenticity of the request before providing any sensitive data.

5. Regularly monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your bank statements, credit reports, and online account activities. Report any suspicious transactions or unauthorised access immediately.

6. Strengthen your passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for each account and consider using a password manager to store them securely.

SIM swapping poses a significant threat to our digital security and personal information. By understanding the dangers associated with this technique and implementing preventive measures, we can minimise the risk of falling victim to SIM swapping. Remember, staying informed and proactive is crucial in protecting ourselves from evolving cyber threats.

Jason Hart, a cyber security expert and ethical hacker “With a sim swap you are cloning the sim card so anything that has a relationship with the phone number you can have access to that too, like apps, texts, email.”

How we can help

If you’re looking to review security levels within your organisation and don’t know where to start, reach out to us today. We’re here to help, and to ensure that you have a helping hand along the way. Our team of experts will be able to work with you to work out what you need and best take care of your organisation.

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