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10-Year Term For UK Hacker Selling Stolen Private Data Of Customers Of High Street Brands

10-Year Term For UK Hacker Selling Stolen Private Data Of Customers Of High Street Brands
A jail sentence of 10 years has been awarded to a U.K. hacker who take orchestrated cyber attacks on a number of companies before customers’ data was sold by him on the dark web.
High street brands including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Uber, Argos and bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral were hacked by Grant West, 26.
The scammer had laid hands on emails of 160000 people from the companies and then send every one personal emails posing as Just Eat so that the personal data of the people can be obtained.
“Courvoisier” was the online identity that West used to sell the information he thus obtained against bitcoin which he stashed away in online caches.
Southwark crown court ordered a sentence of 10 years and eight months to West for the crime. West was described as “a one-man cybercrime wave” by the judge, Michael Gledhill, and added that he had “secreted away” a portion of the £1.6 million worth of cryptocurrency which still cannot be traced.
He said: “Regrettably, as this case has demonstrated, security of information held electronically is at best poor. When such inadequate security is confronted with a criminal of your skills and ambition it is totally unfit for purpose and worthless.
“This case should be a wake-up call to customers, companies and the computer industry to the very real threat of cybercrime.”
He added: “You have a deep and impressive knowledge of computers and if you had decided to use your abilities lawfully I have no doubt at all that you would have had a very successful career.
“Unfortunately you saw the potential of using your skills to make a great deal of money not lawfully but by crime, blatant crime and your crimes were highly sophisticated.”
It was only after West was arrested for accessing the dark web from a first-class train carriage in September last year that the crime that went on for two-and-a-half-years was unearthed. He was returning after meeting up with his girlfriend and co-defendant, Rachael Brooks, in north Wales when he was arrested.
Offers of cash rewards in exchange for customers filling out a survey for Just Eat was made by West to bring out the personal information from the owners of the email addresses that he had stolen. He did this while living in a caravan park in Sheerness in Kent.
In order to access the reward, respondents were directed to confirm personal emails and provide additional personal details. Those details were later used by West to make money. West used his dark web shop to advertise and sell the personal information of users which comprised of all information that is required for making inline purchases.
Police said that online “wallets” were used by West to park the huge amounts of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
According to the estimates of the prosecution, about £1m  was the total loss to the customers.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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