Irish SIM swap hacker sentenced to 3 years in prison

An Irish citizen found guilty of involvement in over $2 million in SIM swap attacks has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison by a court in Dublin, becoming the latest cryptocurrency criminal to face justice.

Conor Freeman, 21, was handed the sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which will see him jailed for 2 years and 11 months for his crimes, the Irish Times reported. According to court reports, Freeman pled guilty to a number of the charges against him, including that he relied on “guile and deception” to steal from his victims.

At the time of his arrest, Freeman was found in possession of 142.7 BTC tokens, currently valued at over $2.5 million. Freeman was found guilty of dishonestly operating a computer, as well as theft and possession of proceeds of crime.

Freeman had been operating as part of a larger group of criminals, thought to involve six cryptocurrency hackers. The attacks ran over a period of just three days back in May 2018.

Victims were sourced through social media, which the group used to glean email addresses and phone numbers. The group would then rely on contacts within mobile phone networks to transfer the mobile numbers to new SIM cards, which then allowed them to recover passwords for their victim’s digital currency accounts.

The three victims of the attacks lost $100,000, $167,000 and $1.9 million in digital currency respectively. When he was finally caught, Freeman had already spent over $150,000 of the proceeds.

On arrest, Freeman cooperated fully with the Gardai, handing over an electronic wallet and private keys to law enforcement.

SIM swap scams have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, allowing scammers to circumvent account security measures to steal crypto. The case underlines the threat to digitally stored digital currency still posed by third-party hackers.

See also: Karen J. Wendel’s presentation at CoinGeek Live, Custody Changes Everything: How BSV Opens a New World for Digital Asset Custodians

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