A far-reaching investigation has exposed a Canadian man’s involvement in a spree of ‘SIM Swap’ attacks that drained millions from crypto professionals this year.

Findings by pseudonymous sleuth ZachXBT revealed an individual, identified as “Yahya,” assisted in 17 SIM swaps in 2023 that resulted in over $4.5 million in stolen funds.

1/ An investigation into the Canadian scammer known as Yahya for their involvement in 17+ SIM swaps which resulted in more than $4.5M stolen. pic.twitter.com/1gQFo0oUAO

— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) October 25, 2023

SIM swapping refers to a technique where scammers convince phone carriers to transfer a victim’s number to a SIM card controlled by hackers. This grants access to accounts linked to the compromised phone number.

As per the investigation, Yahya provided personal details on targets to lead hacker “Skenkir,” who executed the phone hijackings primarily aimed at U.S. residents. Yahya received a cut of up to 15% of the stolen assets as payment.

Among the named victims are — Yuga Labs CEO Daniel Alegre, OpenAI CTO Mira Murati, crypto influencer Bitboy, the Aptos Foundation, PleasrDAO, and many NFT holders.

In one example, Yahya pocketed $250,000 following a July 2022 attack on the Gutter Cat Gang team that incurred $720,000 in losses. In total, Yahya’s wallet received over $720,000 in Ethereum from his role across the 17 attacks.

Earlier, reports from ZachXBT revealed that 54 prominent crypto figures fell prey to SIM swapping schemes in 2023, amounting to over $13 million in combined theft. ZachXBT mentioned that the scammer showed little remorse for his actions when confronted and quipped that,

Like bro, its a lot of money they offering just for lookups.

The investigation provides additional insight into the infrastructure enabling these devastating cybercrimes within the cryptocurrency industry. Law enforcement has yet to provide updates on holding the perpetrators accountable.

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