It was only recently that the trial of Grant West, 30-years-old, also known as “Courvoisier” revealed that West was arrested on a train while phishing. It took no more than two weeks for a verdict to be reached and West has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. During a run of two years almost, West used sophisticated malware to infect the computers of companies which included Sainsbury’s, Asda, Uber, Argos, bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral. According to reports, West also used the common and popular hacking method – phishing – to obtain victims personal details after getting access to about 160,000 email addresses and sending fake links to them.
West pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to defraud, unauthorized modification of computer material, possession and supply of cannabis, possessing criminal property and money laundering.” His crimes certainly fit the bill for 10 years to serve in prison.
As reported before, West was on his way to see his then-girlfriend, Rachael Brooks in North Wales when authorities sacked him on a train. The computer was still open to the darknet marketplace site where he was conducting an illegal trade. With a warrant in place, the authorities raided his house and found £25,000 in cash and copious amounts of marijuana. According to the defendant, Anna Mackenzie, West has been a Cannabis user since the age of 14. She also said that West suffered from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and some other medical unsound symptoms.
Also, an accumulated sum of cryptocurrencies was found in his online bitcoin wallet which is suspected to be a product of his trade on the Dark web. From his fraudulent activities, Barclays Bank lost £300,000 after the accounts of some businesses and individuals were compromised. His attack also cost British Airways a sum of £400,000. He managed to steal around £1 million from businesses and customers. Brook who is a co-defendant also admitted to buying a bikini online with West’s compromised account numbers. This earned her plenty of community service to keep her busy while West is behind bars. She should be thankful she was not convicted as an accomplice to his crimes.
In the Southwark Crown Court, Mackenzie offered an apology on behalf of West, to all the victims of his cyber-attacks, and expressed how remorseful and shameful he has been. She said that “He has expressed remorse and shame and acknowledges his irresponsibility, selfishness, greed, and hunger to succeed. He wishes to offer apologies to the victims and businesses affected by his actions,” she added.
According to the court records, the young man has other records of frauds and drug offenses. The judge, Michael Gledhill, issued a sound of caution to computer industries, businesses and users on the kind of threat out there and the danger they are likely to encounter.
The case comes with lessons and also reveals the state of the security of electronically saved information. Nothing remains anonymous, even on the darknet. Not overlooking his skills and competence, the Judge made it known to him that he would have had a successful career had he used his skills and knowledge legally. This has been the state where most illegal computer hackers find themselves. The judge expressed his disappointment in the fact that West decided to let this talent go waste by choosing a path where his skills and knowledge was geared toward crimes and activities which are not compatible with the law.
Cybercrime cases have increased recently. According to statistics, a total of 4,149 data breaches exposed about 4.2 billion records in 2016. 55 percent of the breaches hit businesses. The U.S. records the highest data breaches incident in 2015 with 1,971 incidents. The report also revealed that the US and the UK alone recorded a slightly more than half of the overall cases. The overall cybercrime revenue has been estimated to be $1.5 trillion.
With the records of several ransomware attacks in the mid of 2017, it can be said that the number of such incidents increases annually.