Canadian Teen Charged For Cryptocurrency Theft

A Montreal resident, age 18 if facing 4 criminal charges connected to a $50 million SIM Swap scam that targeted cryptocurrency holders.

“Eighteen-year-old hacker Samy Bensaci is accused of being part of a crime ring that stole millions of dollars in crypto-currency by gaining unauthorized access to the cell phones of crypto-currency holders in America and Canada.” — Infosecurity Magazine. 17th January, 2020

Among the purported victims were Don and Alex Tapscott, renowned Canadian crypto entrepreneurs and co-authors of the book “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.”

“We can confirm that last year a hacker attempted steal crypto assets from our company and its employees,” Don Tapscott said in an email to ‘The Star’. “That attempt was unsuccessful. We cooperated with the police (and) have been impressed with their determination to bring those responsible to justice.”

Bensaci was arrested in Victoria, British Columbia, in November and charged with fraudulently obtaining computer service, committing fraud over $5,000, identity fraud, and illegally accessing computer data. In December, the teen was released on $200,000 bail and ordered to live with his parents in northeast Montreal until his next court hearing.

While staying at his parents’ residence, Bensaci is prohibited from accessing “any computer, tablet, mobile phone, game console, including PS3, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or any other device capable of accessing the Internet,” and barred from holding or trading any form of cryptocurrency.

A SIM-swapping attack befalls when the hackers are able to trick the telecom company to transfer the victim’s phone number to the attacker’s SIM card. Though it is possible to do this by imitating the victim with the telecom’s customer service, the companies are overwhelmed by insiders that use their access to facilitate this type of crime. With a SIM-swap, aggressors can evade most authentication and password recovery devices that rely on phone numbers.


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