Last week a hacker or hackers calling themselves ChucklingSquad succeeded in taking control of the accounts of several famous YouTube personalities by allegedly swapping the SIMs of their AT&T phones. The personalities affected include Shane Dawson, James Charles, King Bach, Amanda Cerny, and the recently deceased YouTuber Etika. The goal of ChucklingSquad only seems to have been to offend as many people as possible, using the accounts to share messages like “Nazi germany ain’t do nothing wrong” and mocking fans of Etika about his suicide. ChucklingSquad also encouraged people to visit his own social media accounts and Discord server, but this unsurprisingly resulted in their immediate suspension.
Several of the social media stars blamed AT&T for the hacking of their accounts.
@ATT My ATT phone number was compromised earlier today and all of my social media accounts were therefore hacked too! Your fraud department just HUNG UP ON ME. Contact me immediately. This is a major security threat & my lawyer will be reaching out too.
— James Charles (@jamescharles) August 24, 2019
Second time My phone number was hacked because of human error within company at @ATT ?! I have all possible steps of verification added after the first time again and my account was still compromised… time to switch carriers. Be careful out there everyone.
— Amanda Cerny (@AmandaCerny) August 23, 2019
King Bach even posted a video saying that AT&T’s security is ‘trash’ and that he protects everything with two factor authentication:
— King Bach (@KingBach) August 24, 2019
AT&T should still be celebrating the fact that a USD224mn law suit brought by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Michael Terpin was gutted when a federal judge decided that Terpin’s lawyers had not shown that AT&T’s failure to prevent a SIM swap was the cause of USD24mn being stolen from Terpin’s cryptocurrency account. That judge questioned why a “sophisticated crypto holder” relied so much on his mobile phone provider instead of choosing to do more to protect himself. But now this unprecedented string of high-profile SIM swaps has prompted some of the most influential people on the internet to tell their young followers to ditch AT&T and use another network instead. When will some telcos learn that it is worth spending a lot more on protecting their customers in order to avoid reputation damage like this?