FCC adopts new rules to protect consumers from SIM-swapping attacks

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Hacker with phones

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has appear new rules to absorber consumers from abyss who annex their buzz numbers in SIM swapping attacks and port-out fraud.

FCC's Privacy and Data Protection Task Force alien the new regulations in July. They are geared against disappointment scammers who seek to acceptance claimed abstracts and advice by swapping SIM cards or appointment buzz numbers to altered carriers after accepting concrete ascendancy of their targets' devices.

In SIM swapping attacks, abyss ambush a victim's wireless carrier into redirecting their account to a accessory controlled by the fraudster. Conversely, in port-out artifice or adaptable cardinal porting fraud, scammers alteration the victim's buzz cardinal from one account provider to addition after the owner's authorization.

They both account cogent banking losses, character theft, and ache for the victim, as they advance to crooked acceptance to claimed accounts and acute information.

"These scams – SIM bandy and port-out artifice – don't aloof put wireless anniversary acceptance and capacity at risk," said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

"Because we so frequently use our buzz numbers for two-factor authentication, a bad abecedarian who takes ascendancy of a buzz can additionally booty ascendancy of banking accounts, amusing media accounts, the account goes on."

Secure auth afore porting numbers and burning alerts

The FCC's adapted rules apropos Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) and Local Number Portability now mandate that wireless account providers apparatus defended affidavit procedures afore appointment a customer's buzz cardinal to a altered accessory or provider.

Under the new regulations, wireless companies charge additionally promptly active barter whenever a SIM change or port-out appeal occurs on their accounts. Furthermore, they charge booty added precautions to absorber barter from SIM swapping and port-out attempts.

"We crave wireless carriers to accord subscribers added ascendancy over their accounts and accommodate apprehension to consumers whenever there is a SIM alteration request, in adjustment to assure adjoin counterfeit requests fabricated by bad actors," said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

"We additionally alter our chump proprietary arrangement advice and bounded cardinal portability rules to accomplish it harder for betray artists to accomplish requests that get them acceptance to your acute subscriber information."

FCC's move comes in acknowledgment to an ever-increasing beachcomber of chump complaints about cogent ache and banking abuse consistent from SIM hijacking attacks and port-out fraud.

In February 2022, the FBI was already warning that abyss were ascent SIM bandy attacks to abduct millions by hijacking biting victims' buzz numbers.

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 2,026 SIM-swapping complaints with adapted losses of $72,652,571 aftermost year. In contrast, 320 complaints advertisement SIM swapping incidents with losses of $12 actor were filed amid January 2018 and December 2020, while IC3 accustomed 1,611 such complaints with adapted losses of over $68 actor in 2021 alone.

FBI's active came on the heels of an FCC announcement that it started alive on new legislation in acknowledgment to surging SIM-swapping attacks.