Hacker With £500,000 Of Bitcoin Jailed For 11 Years


A one-man cybercrime wave that netted millions of pounds from stolen web site data has ended with the hacker facing nearly 11 years in jail.

Grant West, 26, tricked his way into customer databases of some big brand companies, leaving a trail of havoc that cost more than £1 million to put right with new security measures.

Among his victims were food delivery web site Just Eat, Asda, Ladbrokes, Barclays and British Airways.

West’s life of crime funded his luxury lifestyle of expensive gadgets, lavish holidays and expensive cars.

He was caught with his lap top loaded with sophisticated software on a train by police.

Stash of money and drugs

At Southwark Crown Court, West, of Sheerness, Kent, admitted hacking and fraud charges.

He was sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in prison.

The court heard police recovered Bitcoin worth £500,000 in several electronic wallets owned by West. He also had £25,000 in cash and 500 grams of cannabis he was selling online.

Police found the personal data of 165,000 people on his computer and in the caravan where he lived.

In the Just Eat attack, West encouraged customers listed on the firm’s hacked database to reply to a survey with a fake £10 voucher in return for answering questions about their identities that he intended to sell to criminal gangs.

He also siphoned £84,000 from the accounts of several customers at Barclays Bank.

Sold on Dark Web

Around £1.6 million raised from selling stolen financial information on the Dark Web remains outstanding.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill branded West a “one-man crime wave” and criticised lax cyber security at the web sites he had hacked.

“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, 26, from Wales, was ordered to serve a community order at an earlier hearing after admitting involvement in his offences. He had attacked the web sites from her laptop computer.

His offences took place between July and December 2015.