Bart Stevens, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency landscape and the co-founder and managing partner of Blockchain Capital, has initiated legal proceedings against an unidentified individual. This move comes in the wake of Stevens being defrauded of a substantial $6.3 million in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
Details of the Heist
Stevens’ filed lawsuit paints a vivid picture of the modus operandi. The hacker, who is yet to be identified and goes by the pseudonym “Jane Doe,” employed a blend of publicly available information and data from the darknet. Armed with this data, the hacker managed to navigate past the security barriers set by Stevens’ cell phone provider and proceed to alter account passwords.
Following this, Jane Doe promptly ordered a new mobile device, transferring Stevens’ personal phone number to this new device’s SIM card. Before the actual heist, Stevens received a text message from the perpetrator, tauntingly stating their ability to hack into “any phone number in the mainland U.S.”
The climax of this cybercrime saw the thief successfully transfer a whopping $6.3 million from Stevens’ digital wallets. In a further twist, an audacious attempt to pilfer an additional $14 million in BTC and ETH from Stevens’ cold wallet was thwarted, thanks to the timely intervention of a Blockchain Capital staff member.
Reaction and Aftermath
Stevens’ cellular service provider only verified the SIM swapping incident on May 15, a day after the theft. By this juncture, the hacker had already laundered approximately half of the stolen funds via cryptomixers.
SIM swapping is not a novel threat. In December 2022, Nicholas Truglia of Florida was handed an 18-month prison term for conning cryptocurrency enthusiasts of over $20 million through similar means. In his case, the majority of the illicit gains were converted into Bitcoin and shared among his accomplices.
The magnitude of Stevens’ loss elevates this case, making it the most significant SIM swapping episode to date.
For cryptocurrency stakeholders and investors, this incident underscores the urgent need for heightened security measures and awareness about emerging cyber threats.