How Airtel Security Flaw Led To Website Hacking

| Posted in Security Articles |


  • Sumo

In the space of one hour, the entire webmaster board was overloaded with several threads titled “ got hacked”. On checking one of the threads, I hurriedly fired up my browser, checked the Naijaloaded site and poof, I had a defaced webpage before me.

Next thing I did was to send Naijaloaded’s owner a mail informing him of the hack which he then replied to this morning saying “They Swapped my SIM, Used the Forgot Password Features and Yahoo Sent the Guy my Code, he then Changed my Yahoo Password and Requested for a Password Changing Note from my Domain Registrar, Then he finally Changed my DNS”.

At first, I didn’t understand the swapping part. So I fired up my browser again and started crawling through webpages with the dork “Airtel Nigeria instant swap”.

After much crawling, I learnt that to swap your airtel sim (i.e. to hijack another person’s airtel sim), all you need is

1. An airtel swap sim which goes for just N300 and offered for sale here
2. Four (4) most dial’d no
3. The serial number on the new airtel swap sim

. .and in 20mins max, d new Sim will be ready.

That easy yeah?!

After the “hacker” swapped Naijaloaded’s owner SIM, he went on to use Yahoo’s Forgot Password Features which yahoo then sent the hacker a code (to the swapped sim), he then Changed his Yahoo Password after which the hacker requested for a Password Changing Note from Domain Registrar and ended up changing ‘s DNS.

A brilliant social engineering attack it was!

This clearly exposes vital security flaws in several customer service systems.

All a malicious person need know to hijack your SIM is your 4 most dial’d nos (your dad, mom, girlfriend, line manager, direct subordinate, etc).

You know what this means? You can directly intercept that scheduled business call by hijacking that Big Oga’s sim.

The guy that perpetrated this act not only digitally hacked the owner but they socially hacked him too as he could receive calls on his behalf.

It’s quite upsetting that the ecosystem that we’ve placed so much of our trust in(In this case Airtel) has let some of us down so thoroughly.

Social Engineering, albeit a new one in the Nigerian space, is here to stay. .Folks Are You Ready?

NB: I originally posted this blogpost here. You can follow-up the discussion there

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