A British hacker has been locked up after stealing the data of some 165,000 individuals which he then sold off for bitcoin on the dark web.
Grant West, 26, from Kent in England, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison by Judge Michael Gledhill who reportedly said:
“When such inadequate security is confronted with a criminal of your skills and ambition it is totally unfit for purpose and worthless.”
West hacked a number of brands, including Uber, to obtain emails and other details. He’d then send phishing scam emails pretending to be from Just Eat takeaway from July 2015 to December 2015.
That netted him some £2 million worth in crypto, with £1.5 million unaccounted while £500,000 in bitcoins has been seized by British police, a first for the the 188 -year-old London police department.
The hacker used his girlfriend’s laptop, which was seized when the police raided his residence following his arrest while traveling first class to London (pictured).
Some 63,000 debit and credit card details were found, seven million email addresses with passwords, as well as the details of more than 500 companies.
They were also able to seize £25,000 in cash and half a kilo of cannabis with his girlfriend, Rachael Brookes, a 26 year old from North Wales, given a community order after pleading guilty to unauthorised access of computer material.
It remains somewhat unclear how the bitcoins were seized exactly, but the stolen data was found on an SD card where presumably resided the bitcoin private key.
Something which might suggest the hacker hasn’t taken very much care of his own security, although as stated some £1.6 million worth of crypto is unaccounted.
The judge described him as “a one man cyber crime wave,” suggesting he was plotting on his own, rather than as part of a group, although how the judge reached that conclusion remains unclear as he could have well been co-operating or co-ordinating online.
This is one of the first case to involve crypto and a hacker. Billions have been stolen in this space, but few have faced justice.
That may be because police departments spend far too much on new gear to make them look like robocops, rather than on code training as well as code related expertise.
That may, however, begin to change as more and more of the world continues to run online, including now the transfer of digital cash like currencies such as bitcoin.