According to the SEC, the breach was a result of a sophisticated “SIM swap” attack, where bitcoin the unauthorized party gained access to the account holder’s phone number through the telecom carrier, not the SEC’s internal systems.
The SEC admitted that two-factor authentication (2FA) had been disabled for approximately six months leading up to the hack. Let’s explore more about SEC’s X Account Hack.
SEC Discloses 2FA Disablement in SIM Swap Breach
The disclosure highlights ongoing challenges in securing data and the persistent risk of SIM swap attacks for organizations. This is a method that is increasingly employed by cybercriminals to bypass security measures.

🚨NEW: @SECGov provides update on its X account hack, saying 2FA had been disabled for around 6 months prior to the hack.
“While multi-factor authentication (MFA) had previously been enabled on the @SECGov X account, it was disabled by X Support, at the staff’s request, in July…
— Eleanor Terrett (@EleanorTerrett) January 22, 2024

The disabling of 2FA for such a prolonged period raises concerns about the SEC’s security protocols. 2FA is a critical layer of defense that adds an extra step beyond a password to verify the identity of the account holder. In the absence of 2FA, accounts become more vulnerable to unauthorized access.
The SEC clarified that the breach was not a result of a flaw in its internal security systems but rather a compromise of the account holder’s phone number through the telecom company. SIM swap attacks involve fraudulently transferring a user’s phone number to a SIM card controlled by the attacker, giving them control over incoming calls and text messages.

The @SECGov X account was compromised, and an unauthorized post was posted. The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.
— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) January 9, 2024

The incident underscores the need for proactive adoption and maintenance of strong cybersecurity practices by organizations and individuals. This includes regular security audits, employee training, and the secure management of 2FA mechanisms.

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