Authorities have ordered Grant West to permit the release of $1.1 million to compensate victims of his cyberattacks to avoid additional four years in jail. West is serving 10 years and 8 months in prison after pleading guilty to multiple drug-related charges and committing hacking activities such as conspiracy to defraud and possession of the criminal property.
He also pleaded guilty to unauthorized modification of computer material. Using “Courvoisier” as the username, Grant sold hacked accounts on the dark web since March 2015. It was estimated that West processed 47,000 successful sales until his arrest in 2017. It was also said that authorities have in possession over 80 Bitcoins said to be proceeds of his criminal operations.
It all started when authorities launched a comprehensive investigation into a data breach that affected thousands of customers of a British online food and delivery company, “Just Eat”, between July and December 2015 as part of an operation called “Operation Draba”. In the course of the investigation, authorities traced a series of IP addresses of the hacker and found Grant as the prime suspect. Grant was then located in the first-class carriage of a train heading to London. He was then arrested.
In his possession was his girlfriend’s laptop used to launch his cyberattacks with a tool called Sentry MBR. On the laptop was found the financial information of more than 100,000 victims according to reports.
The “Just Eat hacker” was reported to have hacked a number of companies including Uber, Vitality, Coral Betting, Just Eat, ASDA, Mighty Deals Limited, Nectar, AO.com, T Mobile, Ladbrokes, Argos, the British Cardiovascular Society, MR Porter, Sainsburys and RS Feva Class Association 2017. His girlfriend pleaded guilty to charges and was handed a community order as claimed by a report.
Image source: www.thesun.co.uk
A search on West led to the seizure of SD card that contained about 63,000 credit and debit card details of customers of the hacked companies. In addition, the SD card contained the usernames, passwords and other sensitive information of about 78 million people. Grant was also reported to have sold Cannabis on the dark web of which a total of $30,000 said to be a proceed of the trade was confiscated.
Aside from the many successful hack attempts, it was estimated that Grant also committed unsuccessful attempts of hacking the email accounts of more than 160,000 individuals using the famous phishing method. This attempt cost the said company about £200,000. In addition to these, he provided a comprehensive guide on how to successfully launch cyberattacks.
Currently, the confiscated Bitcoins are in possession of authorities awaiting the approval of the defendant before they are sold in the open market to compensate victims.
According to the statement made at the court, authorities also confiscated funds in other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. On Friday at the Southwark Crown Court, Judge Joanna Korner QC stated that “I, therefore, order a confiscation of that amount, £915,305.77, to be paid as a way of compensation to the losers.” DCI Kirsty Goldsmith, the head of Met’s cybercrime unit said to reporters that they will ensure that any individual who commits the crime on the dark web is arrested, prosecuted and all criminal assets seized just as the case of Aaron Shamo. He then commended his team for bringing Grant to justice and ensuring the order is secured.
Image Source: www.news.sky.com
Cybercrime has increased in recent time with the reason linked to the surge of Bitcoin price. It has been reported that the rise in the Bitcoin price influences cybercriminals to hack the sensitive information of customers of prominent companies, hoping to obtain some of these digital assets as ransom. In response to this, authorities have launched a series of operations to arrest perpetrators.
Similarly, authorities arrested and sentenced Gunton Elliot 19, for hacking a telecommunication company. Elliot pleaded guilty to five counts including money laundering and computer misuse.
Recently, Accenture and the Ponemon Institute published a report entitled Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study. The report established that the rise of cyberattacks also increases the costs related to it.
The report stated that the average cost of cybercrime has increased to $13 million in 2019 and $1.4 million more than the cost incurred in 2018. This cost includes the amount spent on finding and examining the attack. It also took into consideration the amount spent by companies to recover from the breach.
It was stated that companies based in America suffered most from cyberattacks, incurring an average cost of a little over $27 million. This was 29% more than the cost recorded in 2018.
Source: ZD NET
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