U.S. authorities have charged three individuals for their alleged involvement in the FTX cryptocurrency exchange hack. 

The suspects, whose identities remain undisclosed, are accused of orchestrating a sophisticated sim-swapping scheme to gain unauthorized access to FTX’s funds. The attack, which occurred in November 2022, resulted in the loss of over US$400 million from the exchange. 

Sim-swapping is a technique where attackers deceive a mobile phone carrier into transferring a victim’s phone number to a sim card in their possession. Once they have control over the phone number, they can bypass security measures that rely on text message verification, allowing them to access sensitive accounts and information.

The theft occurred during a tumultuous time for FTX as the exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

FTX filed for bankruptcy along with 130 of its affiliates in November 2022, as it was unable to honor customer withdrawals amid a bank run-style collapse due to misappropriation of customer deposits. 

The exchange’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was found guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. He faces up to 115 years in prison and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 28, 2024.