Crypto exchange Bittrex is being sued over a SIM swap that involved nearly $1 million worth of stolen Bitcoin. The case resembles other recent high-profile heists in which a hacker seizes control of a victim’s cell phone to then loot online crypto accounts: the swap was from cellular carrier AT&T, money was taken from Bittrex, and the hack took control over the victim’s online identity.
Bennett filed a lawsuit in Washington state’s King County Superior Court, in which he claims that Bittrex did not abide by its own security measures, while also failing to meet industry standards. He further noted that Bittrex’s management failed to take action as the April 15, 2019 hack was taking place. The exchange did not respond in a timely manner, even though Bennett says he informed the company directly.
The hackers are said to even returned the following day for his 35 remaining bitcoin, but Bennett had succeeded in getting Bittrex to shut down the account and the unauthorised withdrawals.
The Department of Financial Institutions, the financial legal examiner for the Washington state regulator that addresses complaints from consumers, stated that Bittrex failed to “take reasonable steps to respond” to Bennett’s message and “appears” to have not honoured its own terms of service, according to an August 30, 2019 letter.
Bennett also believes that his hack was most likely “an inside job,” as he thinks that the PIN associated with his account and the social security number linked to the account were changed, which suggests that someone at AT&T could have played a role in the incident.
Not the first time
AT&T has not specifically been mentioned in Bennett’s case, although it remains the focus of similar SIM-swap lawsuits filed by disgruntled investors. Most notable is Michael Terpin’s $224 million AT&T legal case, which involves New York’s ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ Nicholas Truglia and $80 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency in which Terpin was seeking $23.8 million in compensatory damages as well as $200 million in punitive damages.