SIM Swapper Takes Over Accounts of Famous YouTubers

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.

King Bach even posted a video saying that AT&T’s security is ‘trash’ and that he protects everything with two factor authentication:

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?

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.