AT&T Sued by Michael Terpin for Willing Cooperation with Crypto Theft
Michael Terpin, an entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor sued AT&T for negligence in cryptocurrency theft. According to his complaint, Terpin lost USD 24 million.
In a period of 7 months, Terpin has been the victim of two hacks. He is claiming that it happened because of negligence on the part of AT&T. He claims that after the first attack, the hacker was able to get his phone number from an AT&T insider. Then, the phone number was used to gain access to his cryptocurrency accounts. Terpin says,
What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.
It is unclear as to which digital wallets his cryptocurrency was stored in. Despite the large amount of sophisticated details involved in storing cryptocurrencies, people are falling prey to simple phishing scams and fraud methods. At its core, this is a case of identity theft. However, the hackers must have known in advance that Terpin kept all his crypto assets on his mobile phone.
AT&T told Reuters in a statement that it is disputing these allegations.
This hack was done through a technique known as sim-jacking where the phone number is transferred to a different sim and happens without any identity verification procedures. This either happened as a classic case of hacking where the hackers pretended to be Terpin and requested the phone number to be transferred to their own device or somebody on the inside was working with the hackers, as claimed by the suit.
The situation is of either gross negligence or active criminality.