Prosecutors: Two men used SIM swapping to extort cryptocurrency

when it rains it pours —

A third suspect was found to have a file on his computer: “Hacker Sh—t!”

Cyrus Farivar

Prosecutors: Two men used SIM swapping to extort cryptocurrency

Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In an indictment unsealed Monday, two men were

accused

by federal prosecutors of SIM swapping, an activity by which they allegedly committed “device fraud, extortion, and aggravated identity theft.”

The SIM swapping technique allows a person to fool a mobile carrier into transferring someone else’s number to them—thus enabling possible account hijacking or other password resets that rely on the phone number itself as an authentication device.

In a press release issued Monday evening by the United States Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, Ahmad Wagaafe Hared and Matthew Gene Ditman were “engaged in a scheme to obtain by fraud and extortion cryptocurrencies and other money and property owned and controlled by executives of cryptocurrency-related companies and cryptocurrency investors.”

It is not clear if Hared and Ditman’s activities were related to the plot that involved Joel Ortiz, a man who recently pleaded guilty to similar charges in California’s Santa Clara County Superior Court, or to the recent indictment of another alleged SIM swapper named Dawson Bakies.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office noted on February 1 that after investigators executed a search warrant at Bakies’ home, they found a laptop, “which contained an encrypted drive on which BAKIES stored a document with the file name ‘Hacker Shit!’ This document contained the names of ‘finished targets,’ including the names of the three Manhattan victims, along with their personal identifying information.”

Ditman and Hared are set to appear before US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler on February 6, and February 13, respectively.

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