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On March 3rd, at approximately 9pm, hackers stole my phone number. I didn’t become aware of this until a little more than 24 hours later, but hacking attempts on my other accounts began right away. Prior to this nightmarish experience, I had never heard of this happening to anyone else; however, in the days that followed I quickly became aware of its rapidly growing popularity and frightening ease of execution. Pulling off this attack requires virtually no technical skills, rather it relies entirely on social engineering, persistence, and an incompetent telecom employee. If this can happen to me, it can happen to virtually anybody.
The 48 hour period beginning at around 5am on March 4th was one of the most trying, confusing and frightening of my life. At that point, my wife and I had been up pretty much all night due to our son being in the midst of a horrible sleep regression. In fact, his crying was so hysterical I ended up calling our pediatrician’s office to ensure he wasn’t suffering from something more serious. I was going on two hours of sleep, the sun was about to rise and I was dealing with an inconsolable child. I thought things couldn’t get much worse. Boy was I wrong.
I had time to kill while waiting for the on-call nurse to ring me back, so I checked my email. I quickly realized something had gone horribly wrong. At least one of my accounts had been entirely compromised, and I received multiple alerts from two other accounts notifying me of unauthorized actions and password change attempts. At this point I realized there would be no hope of any additional sleep, and I immediately got to work contacting the three accounts that had been attacked. There was considerable damage to one of my accounts, but support immediately took care of the issue. The other accounts were only partly compromised, and appeared safe. I proceeded to log into my other accounts in order to change passwords and investigate whether or not anything else had been compromised, with my email the most pressing concern. Everything else seemed fine. I passed out that evening shaken, but somewhat relieved despite the fact I still had no idea what was going on or how the hackers compromised the things they did.