Police have confiscated around half a million pounds worth of bitcoin from a “prolific” hacker. It is considered as the first case of its kind for the Met.
Grant West was responsible for the attacks on over 100 companies worldwide, collecting the financial information of tens of thousands of people through phishing scams, which he would eventually sell on the dark web prior to converting the profit into bitcoins.
The firms that West was able to attack the websites of are:
- Coral Betting
- RS Feva Class Association 2017
- Mighty Deals Limited
- the British Cardiovascular Society
- T Mobile
- Truly Experiences Ltd
- the Finnish Bitcoin exchange
- M R Porter
He also operated a phishing scam that masqueraded as Just Eat, the online takeaway service, in an attempt to have access to the personal information of around 165,000 people. Even though no financial data was obtained, his actions cost the company approximately £200,000.
Today, he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to an imprisonment of 10 years and eight months. And, for the first time, the Met confiscated £500,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
The officers from the Met’s Police Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) was able to arrest and charged West in September last year after a two-year investigation. He was named as the head of an Organised Crime Network (OCN) which predominantly targeted organisations that are based in London.
As well as financial information, he also sold cannabis which he would ship to customers. He also sold ‘how to’ guides that are instructing others ways on how to carry out cyber attacks.
West also regularly made use of stolen credit card information to pay for items for himself, including food, holidays, household goods, and shopping.
West is 26 years old and is from Ashcroft Caravan Park, Sheerness, Kent. He pleaded guilty to 10 various offences. Rachael Brookes, his girlfriend who is also 26, and who is from Denbigh, North Wales pleaded guilty to unauthorised use of computer material.
The head of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, detective chief superintendent Mick Gallagher, stated: “This case illustrates the lengths that our detectives will go to in order to pursue offenders on the dark web. We will use many different measures to ensure such offenders are identified, prosecuted and their assets are seized.
“This is the first time we have seized a cryptocurrency and we are determined to remain one step ahead of cybercriminals who believe they can act with impunity.”