Police have seized around half a million pounds worth of bitcoin from a "prolific" hacker in the first case of its kind for the Met.[hhmc]
Grant West was responsible for attacks on more than 100 companies worldwide, obtaining the financial data of tens of thousands of people though phishing scams, which he would then sell on the dark web before converting the profit into bitcoins.
West attacked the websites of 17 major firms including Sainsbury's, Nectar, Groupon, AO.com, Ladbrokes, Coral Betting, Uber, Vitality, RS Feva Class Association 2017, Asda, the British Cardiovascular Society, Mighty Deals Limited, Truly Experiences Ltd, T Mobile, M R Porter, the Finnish Bitcoin exchange, and Argos.
He also carried out a phishing scam masquerading as online takeaway service Just Eat, in an attempt to obtain the personal details of 165,000 people. Although no financial information was obtained, his actions cost the firm approximately £200,000.
He was sentenced today at Southwark Crown Court to 10 years and eight months imprisonment. And, for the first time, the Met seized £500,000 in cryptocurrency.
Officers from the Mets Police Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) arrested and charged West in September 2017 following a two-year investigation. He was identified as the head of an Organised Crime Network (OCN) which predominantly targeted London-based organisations.
As well as financial data, he also sold cannabis which he shipped to customers, and how to guides instructing others how to carry out cyber attacks.
West also regularly used stolen credit card details to pay for items for himself, including holidays, food, shopping and household goods.
The 26-year-old, of Ashcroft Caravan Park, Sheerness, Kent, pleaded guilty to 10 different offences. His girlfriend Rachael Brookes, 26, of Denbigh, North Wales pleaded guilty to unauthorised use of computer material.
Detective chief superintendent Mick Gallagher, head of the Mets Organised Crime Command, said: "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 cyber criminals who believe they can act with impunity."