BRITISH HACKER Grant West has been sentenced to 10 years and eight months for a crime spree that netted him millions from the sale of stolen data.
26-year-old West, from Sheerness in Kent, had pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit fraud, computer misuse and drug offences on 2 May.
A prolific criminal, he hacked multiple firms including Asda, Barclays, British Airways (BA) and Ladbrokes, costing each of them hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A total of £84,000 was stolen from hacked Barclays accounts, costing the bank more than £300,000 to put right, while BA lost £400,000 as a result of West's hacking of accounts the Avios travel awards site.
He also used phishing emails to trick people into giving away their financial information. One such email, sent in 2015, purported to be a survey from Just-Eat, and promised discount vouchers for those completing it. That email alone netted him £180,000, according to the Met Police.
West sold the information on Alpha Bay, the 'dark web' site that has since been taken down. The proceeds were converted into Bitcoin which he stashed in multiple accounts.
West was arrested in September 2017 while travelling to London by train. The police reportedly waited until he was logged into his cryptocurrency wallets, seizing the laptop he was using before he could close them.
The laptop, which belonged to West's girlfriend, was found to contain financial information on 100,000 people. The police also retrieved £500,000 of Bitcoin from the wallets.
A later raid on his home turned up an SD card with 63,000 bank card details from the Just-Eat scam plus seven million email addresses and passwords. The police also discovered a large amount of cash plus 500g of cannabis which West was selling on the web.
However, approximately £1.6m of West's ill-gotten gains remain unaccounted for, according to Judge Michael Gledhill.
Describing West as a "one man crime wave", Judge Gledhill criticised the lax cybersecurity at the firms he had attacked.
"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 said.
West's former girlfriend Rachel Brookes pleaded guilty to unauthorised access of computer material and was handed a community order. µ
Edit: The headline to this article was changed to remove the word 'hacker' following a request from Just-Eat who pointed out that the company was not hacked and that its own IT systems were never breached.
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