Several months after a major exchange shutdown, customers of FTX are still grappling with associated issues, with some facing a fresh phishing attack targeting their FTX-associated emails. The chaos ensued when Kroll, the agent handling the bankruptcy claims, was hit by a SIM swapping attack which breached the confidentiality of customer information including account balances, contact numbers, and home addresses. The ripples of this attack were not limited to FTX alone; customer data from other bankrupt crypto firms, Genesis and BlockFi, were also compromised.
The exposure of such extensive personal details, notwithstanding the assurance that crypto account passwords and other sensitive data were unscathed, has put many on high alert, wary of scammers impersonating parties involved in the bankruptcy proceedings. Interestingly, the parties who managed to secure this treasure trove of data were quick to action, drafting hopeful emails with a semblance of promise to recuperate lost capital. The catch? Customers needed to link a crypto wallet to their account.
The promise seemed enticing. “You have been identified as an eligible client to begin withdrawing digital assets from your FTX account,” read an email addressed to some FTX creditors. It further assured that the withdrawals, equivalent to the digital asset balance in the wallet at the time of the platform’s shutdown, would be dispatched in USDC. All the customer had to do was perform a seemingly harmless action – click the ‘withdraw now’ button to link an external ERC20 wallet.
However, the underbelly of this otherwise appealing proposal was far from innocent. Connecting one’s wallet to such a phishing email risks a complete drain of token holdings, as it is likely to solicit private key data to facilitate the transfer.
The technique used, known as SIM swapping, is executed when fraudsters convince your mobile phone’s provider to activate a SIM card that they possess, thereby gaining access to phone numbers and subsequently, stealing passwords, financial data, cryptocurrencies and other valuables.
In response to the ongoing complications, FTX declared a temporary freeze on affected user accounts within the customer claims portal. But the question is, can technological advancement outweigh security concerns or will the latter always be a step behind, waiting to rear its not-so-pretty head? As the dust from this situation begins to settle, the crypto industry keeps a watchful eye over the future developments.