SIM swap hacker caught in Florida

Florida police have arrested a 25-year-old named Ricky Joseph Handschumacher. The young man is suspected of grand theft and money laundering. Handschumacher used SIM swapping techniques to steal thousands in Bitcoin and to “drain bank accounts,” according to security researcher Brian Krebs. Handschumacher’s scam was simple: He called telecom operators and asked them to swap […]

Florida police have arrested a 25-year-old named Ricky Joseph Handschumacher. The young man is suspected of grand theft and money laundering. Handschumacher used SIM swapping techniques to steal thousands in Bitcoin and to “drain bank accounts,” according to security researcher Brian Krebs.

Handschumacher’s scam was simple: He called telecom operators and asked them to swap his SIM card for the victim’s SIM card. This, in turn, gave him access to two-factor authentication techniques via SMS and allowed him to access email accounts, bitcoin wallets and file storage systems. I experienced this firsthand a year ago when my phone stopped working and all of my Google passwords began changing without my control.

“In some cases, fraudulent SIM swaps succeed thanks to lax authentication procedures at mobile phone stores. In other instances, mobile store employees work directly with cyber criminals to help conduct unauthorized SIM swaps, as appears to be the case with the crime gang that allegedly included Handschumacher,” wrote Krebs.

The takedown happened after a mother overheard her son pretending to be an AT&T employee. Police found multiple SIM cards and a Trezor in the Michigan home of the first hacker, as well as logins for Telegram and Discord channels dedicated to SIM swapping. The police found that the hackers had stolen 57 bitcoins from one victim. Handschumacher was head of the group.

The hackers were allegedly targeting the Winklevoss twins before Handschumacher was arrested.

According to the police complaint, “Handschumacher and another co-conspirator talk about compromising the CEO of Gemini and posted his name, date of birth, Skype username and email address into the conversation. Handschumacher and the co-conspirators discuss compromising the CEO’s Skype account and T-Mobile account. The co-conspirator states he will call his ‘guy’ at T-Mobile to ask about the CEO’s account.”

Worried about getting hacked? Given the ease with which Handschumacher and his team worked, non-SMS-based two-factor authentication is still the best solution for ensuring you aren’t effected. There are also methods to add a SIM lock to your phone so outsiders can’t swap your SIM as easily, but remember: All the protection in the world can’t stop a dedicated hacker. Keep your important data and cryptocurrencies offline if possible.

AT&T is now the sole owner of Otter Media

Otter Media is no longer a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group — AT&T announced today that it has acquired The Chernin Group’s controlling interest in the digital media company. Otter Media was founded in 2014 and owns Ellation (which in turn owns anime streamer Crunchyroll and subscription video service Vrv) and Fullscreen (which […]

Otter Media is no longer a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group — AT&T announced today that it has acquired The Chernin Group’s controlling interest in the digital media company.

Otter Media was founded in 2014 and owns Ellation (which in turn owns anime streamer Crunchyroll and subscription video service Vrv) and Fullscreen (which owns Rooster Teeth).

It will now become a part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit, which was created with the acquisition of Time Warner. Tony Goncalves, the AT&T executive who became Otter Media’s CEO earlier this year, will continue to run the company.

The New York Times reports that analysts valued the deal at more than $1 billion.

“We are thrilled to incorporate the Otter Media brands and talent into WarnerMedia,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in the announcement. “Working with Tony, we look to harness Otter’s expertise in feeding the passion of on-line audiences to augment our portfolio of digital assets and help us further engage, connect and entertain consumers around the globe.”

AT&T says Otter Media has built up an audience of 93 million unique viewers each month and has 2 million paying subscribers.

$50 a month for 1Mbps: How AT&T and Verizon rip off DSL customers

AT&T and Verizon force copper customers to pay fiber-level prices.

(credit: Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock)

Tens of millions of people in the AT&T and Verizon service territories can only buy slow DSL Internet from the companies, yet they often have to pay the same price as fiber customers who get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the US.

That's the conclusion of a new white paper written by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), a broadband advocacy group.

AT&T has been charging $60 a month to DSL customers for service between 6 and 10Mbps downstream and 0.6Mbps to 1Mbps upstream, the white paper notes, citing AT&T's advertised prices from July 2018. AT&T also charges $60 a month for 50Mbps and 75Mbps download tiers and even for fiber service with symmetrical upload and download speeds of 100Mbps. These are the regular rates after first-year discounts end, before any extra fees and taxes.

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Comcast, Charter dominate US; telcos “abandoned rural America,” report says

AT&T and Verizon have generally built fiber only where they face competition.

(credit: Getty Images | jangeltun)

You already knew that home broadband competition is sorely lacking through much of the US, but a new report released today helps shed more light on Americans who have just one choice for high-speed Internet.

Comcast is the only choice for 30 million Americans when it comes to broadband speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream, the report says. Charter Communications is the only choice for 38 million Americans. Combined, Comcast and Charter offer service in the majority of the US, with almost no overlap.

Yet many Americans are even worse off, living in areas where DSL is the best option. AT&T, Verizon, and other telcos still provide only sub-broadband speeds over copper wires throughout huge parts of their territories. The telcos have mostly avoided upgrading their copper networks to fiber—except in areas where they face competition from cable companies.

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