Ten hackers have been arrested on suspicion of stealing cryptocurrency worth $100 million from celebrities, Europol said.
On 9 February, eight arrests were made that followed previous ones made in Malta and Belgium.
By hijacking phone numbers, criminals stole more than $100 million in cryptocurrency, the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation added.
8⃣ arrests for sim-swapping that targeted celebrities in the USA. The suspects are believed to have stolen over $100m in cryptocurrencies by gaining access to and taking control of apps and changing passwords. https://t.co/GxSLWOFF8u— Europol (@Europol) February 10, 2021
According to Europol, the suspects were involved in a series of so-called SIM swapping attacks targeting high-profile victims in the United States. This type of fraud involves cybercriminals taking over the use of a victim’s phone number by essentially deactivating their SIM card and porting the allocated number over to a SIM card which belonged to a member of the criminal network. The criminals also hijacked social media accounts, including those of celebrities, to post content and send messages disguised as the victim.
The arrests come as a result of a year-long Europol-coordinated international investigation involving law enforcement authorities from the UK, US, Canada, Belgium, and Malta.