US Lawmakers Urge FCC to Step Up Its Action Against SIM Swaps
Marie Huillet's original article for cointelegraph.com reduced by 44%%
United States lawmakers have appealed to the Federal Communications Commission to hold telecoms providers to account for failing to protect consumers against SIM swap attacks. "Consumers have no choice but to rely on phone companies to protect them"The lawmakers' letter reveals that the number of complaints pertaining to SIM swaps has increased from 215 in 2016 to 728 through November 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission. They further point to a November 2019 Wall Street Journal report claiming that a law-enforcement task force in Santa Clara County had revealed it was aware of over 3,000 SIM swap victims, accounting for $70 million in losses nationwide.
In some cases, as the lawmakers underscore, SIM swaps are successful thanks to corrupt telecoms firm employees. While additional security measures - i.e. requiring customers to show IDs in-store to conduct SIM swaps - have been adopted by some carriers in the U.S.
and abroad, their implementation in the states allegedly remains "Spotty and consumers are unlikely to find out about the availability of these optional security features until it is too late." Aside from risks to consumers, the letter argues that such attacks may endanger national security, noting that "Countless U.S. government websites used by millions of Americans either allow password resets via email or support two-factor authentication via SMS, which can both be exploited by hackers using SIM swaps." The lawmakers posed eight questions to the FCC, among them how many SIM swap incidents it had received, if indeed it had tracked them, as well as inquiries into its coordination with third parties such as banks and its regulations over mobile carriers' reporting to law enforcement.
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CN [too long; didn’t read]
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