Mobile phone service providers AT&T have allegedly been sued a grand total of $240 million over a cryptocurrency theft that has seen one customer, Michael Terpin lose around $24 million worth of cryptocurrency at the hands of the mobile phone network provider. Terpin is best known as the CEO of Transform Group and is a notorious figure within cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry. Terpin believes that the theft occurred as a result of a visit to an AT&T shop in Connecticut. Here, a staff member handled his request to transfer his mobile phone number to a new sim card. Because Terpins account had been hacked earlier, it seems that his account was marked at high risk, this gave him extra protection and meant that his account would be monitored more closely to prevent such a hack happening again. It transpires that during the phone number transfer, this extra protection was not carried over to the new sim card which in turn exposed his account and meant Terpin was susceptible to attack once more. Eventually, Terpin was hacked once again, losing $24 million. Terpin is now claiming this back from AT&T via the courts and has also raised an additional $200 million charge for damages. According to Zycrypto:
“Terpin’s crypto bag was looted in January so it is highly likely that his coins are now worth far less than $23.8 million. Still, Terpin argues that the negligence is worth a severe punishment because SIM card fraud is a known problem that large holders of cryptocurrency deal with.”
“In the complaint, Terpin’s legal team claims ‘what AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.’ If successful, Terpin’s lawsuit could have great implications for the way communications companies must handle security issues.”
See more for yourself, here.Is Terpin going in a little hard here?Is this really the fault of the AT&T employee? Perhaps his account should have flagged that his extra protection had ended, moreover, perhaps something needs introducing that means these protections are carried over when hardware changes but even so, I think this is a little harsh on AT&T, especially considering the extra $200 million raised for damages, that’s just ludicrous. Surely, instead this should be down to a criminal investigation against the hacker? Yes, Terpin might get his money back from AT&T, but the hacker is still at large here, surely there’s a better approach to be taken here?