According to Law360, Washington state resident Carlos Tapang is suing telecom giant T-Mobile for failing to secure his account from hackers. Per the lawsuit, Tapang alleges that the company failed to stop hackers from entering his wireless account last fall. This made him the victim of a cryptocurrency heist.
Tapang accuses T-Mobile of having “improperly allowed wrongdoers to access” his account on November 7 last year through social engineering. The hackers then used their access to cancel his number and transfer it to an AT&T account they controlled.
T-Mobile was then unable to “contain this security breach until the next day.” This gave the hackers enough time to change the password in one of Tapang’s accounts on a cryptocurrency platform. Using it, they stole 1,000 OmiseGo (OMG) and 19.6 BitConnect Coins (BCC).
At the time, BitConnect’s lending and exchange platform was still active, and as such the stolen tokens were traded for 2.875 BTC. After converting them to bitcoin, the hackers transferred the funds out of his account. On November 7, one Bitcoin was worth little over $7,000, meaning the hackers netted over $20,000 from the heist.
Tapang noted that “after the incident, BTC price reached more than $17,000 per coin”. Given the cryptocurrency’s volatility, the thieves might’ve not benefited from the surge.
T-Mobile’s security on the cryptocurrency heist
The lawsuit alleges that T-Mobile is at fault. Partly, because it was set to add a PIN to Tapang’s account before the incident, but never did it. The Washington resident claims the hackers were able to call the company’s customer support multiples times until they got an agent on the line. The agent then granted them access, without requiring further identity verification.
It further lists several anonymous complaints T-Mobile’s customers made online regarding similar security breaches. Since Tapang was unable to use his phone number and had to “expend time, energy, and expense,” and suffered “emotional distress,” he is seeking damages and injunctive relief.
As reported by Core Media late last year, cybersecurity expert Lee Chen warned cryptocurrency heists would increase this year. According to him, as cryptocurrencies become mainstream, they become the “next major target.”