A huge cyber attack had recently occurred on October 6th within Israel, where about 20 Israeli Cryptocurrency Executives were asked to pay digital currency after their phones were hacked and their identities were stolen. The failed cyber attack took place at the beginning of September and was carried out by a sophisticated team that may have been state sponsored. It’s not clear who the hacker was or where the individual or team was based, but Pandora’s co-founder Zahi Ganot, said he suspects a criminal group with access to the SS7 network may have planned and mounted the attack from an unassigned switch in the infrastructure. The country’s intelligence agency, Mossad, and the Internal Security Service Shin Bet are now involved with the investigation. Tzahi Ganot, co-founder of a Israeli based security firm Pandora, explained how the entire operation had heavily relied on the use of their own SMS verification processes to obtain personal data. Ganot commented that “stealing a user’s SMS messages is not simple and isn’t supposed to be accessible to private individuals.” Hackers can exploit SS7 to intercept text messages and calls by using a roaming feature and “updating the location of their device as if it registered to a different network.”
The hacker had been registered as a requested client who claimed to be the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of a company and asserted that his mobile phone had been hacked over night, along with his Telegram accounts and other accounts. The hackers had then sent messages to his contacts from the infiltrated Telegram account and had asked people to send cryptocurrency. The operation successfully managed to breach into the accounts of 20 executives from Israel who all worked as CEOs or vice-CEOs of digital currency firms and clients of Partner, an Israeli telecom company. The culprits behind the attack had demanded that all 20 Israeli cryptocurrency executives pay digital currency to regain electronic access, and had also impersonated their victims on Telegram in unsuccessful attempts to lure close acquaintances into making crypto trades.