Understanding SIM Swap Attacks: How They're Executed and How to Protect Yourself

Understanding SIM Swap Attacks: How They're Executed and How to Protect Yourself

Sim swap attacks is one of the most dangerous forms of fraud that can be committed today. From gaining access into your private emails to gaining access to your bank account. Continue reading to learn what it is and how to protect yourself.
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In the evolving landscape of digital security, SIM swap attacks have emerged as a significant threat to personal and financial security. This type of cybercrime involves fraudsters taking control of a victim's mobile phone number by tricking the mobile provider into swapping the number to a SIM card owned by the attacker. In this blog post, we delve into how SIM swap attacks are executed and offer practical advice on safeguarding yourself against such threats.

What is a SIM Swap Attack?: A SIM swap attack, also known as SIM hijacking, occurs when a criminal manages to transfer your phone number to their SIM card. This switch gives them control over your phone number, including calls, texts, and crucially, one-time passcodes sent via SMS.

How Are SIM Swap Attacks Carried Out?:

  • Gathering Information: Attackers often start by collecting personal information about their target, obtained through methods like social engineering, phishing emails, or purchasing data from other cybercriminals. Data such as your name, date of birth, passcodes on your account can be leaked from within as well.
  • Social Engineering the Mobile Provider: Armed with this information, they contact the victim’s mobile carrier, pretending to be the victim. They might claim their phone has been lost or damaged, requesting a transfer of the number to a new SIM card.
  • Completing the Swap: Once the mobile provider transfers the number to the new SIM, the attacker gains control over all communications sent to that number.

The Consequences of SIM Swap Attacks: Victims can face various issues, from inconvenience to severe financial loss. Attackers can bypass SMS-based two-factor authentication, access sensitive accounts (banking, email, social media), and even lock the victim out of their own accounts.

If you have a gold mobile number sometimes your number could be sold on to other private sellers. Gold numbers are worth a lot of money and criminals recognise this as a great means to earn money. At VIP Mobile Numbers we never purchase second hand numbers due to this reason, we only purchase VIP Numbers directly from mobile networks.

Protecting Yourself Against SIM Swap Attacks in the UK:

Use A Contract Rather Than A PAYG Sim: Using a contract allows for many more security measures based on your information, information that would be much more difficult for attackers to gain access to. Research what security questions each network asks should you have lost your sim card, the most tedious are usually the most secure.

Strengthen Account Security: Use strong, unique passwords and consider using an authenticator app for two-factor authentication instead of SMS. 2FA is usually the best option as a last line of defence from attackers, so it's really important you activate it for all of the services you use.

Stay Vigilant For Suspicious Activity: Generally, the sign a sim swap attack has occurred is when you lose service. If you lose service, call your network providers customer service line and sim swap your number back. Then, change the details you've given your network providers.

Contact Your Mobile Provider: Ask about additional security measures they may offer, like a PIN or password on your mobile account.

What to Do If You're a Victim: If you suspect a SIM swap attack, act immediately. Contact your mobile carrier to regain control of your number, change passwords for your important accounts, and monitor your bank statements and credit reports for signs of identity theft. Finally, contact the police regarding the matter.

Currently the safest mobile networks for your VIP Mobile Numbers are as follows:

1. For a contract account, the safest mobile network is EE. This is due to the additional security measure of having to go into a EE store with a valid form of ID. They also take a biometric scan of your face as to verify with the ID registered on your account when you initially signed up.

2. For a PAYG account, we highly recommend the mobile network GiffGaff. GiffGaff has a mandatory 2FA, and no customer service line, so criminals are unable to perform their social engineering attacks. Also, as it's all online, you're able to resolve any suspicious activity 24/7, within a couple of days.

Conclusion: As technology advances, so do the methods used by cybercriminals. Awareness and proactive measures are key in preventing SIM swap attacks. By understanding how these attacks occur and implementing robust security practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to this growing form of cybercrime.