HACKER CAGED FOR BLACKMAILING PORN FANS
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A HACKER who blackmailed porn website users in what investigators say is the UK’s most serious cyber crime case has been jailed for more than six years.
Zain Qaiser targeted millions of computers with malicious browser-locking software which demanded payment of up to £750 to unfreeze the screens, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Qaiser, 24, who worked with an international Russian crime group, received more than £500,000 through the global scheme, which he spent on luxury hotel stays, gambling and a Rolex watch.
The National Crime Agency considers it the most serious case of cyber crime they have investigated, the court heard.
Former computer science student Qaiser, of Barking, east London, committed most of his crimes between the age of 18 and 19. Infected
Using the online name K!NG, he bought masses of advertising on porn sites, prosecutor Joel Smith said.
But when users clicked the corrupted links, their computers were exposed to highly sophisticated “Angler” software.
Infected computers showed a message impersonating cops in the user’s country saying an offence had been committed and demanding payment of up to 1,000 dollars (£767), the court heard.
The crime group collected millions of pounds in profits from victims in more than 20 countries, although the total number of people who paid the fee is unknown.
Some advertisers were “happy to turn a blind eye” to Qaiser’s actions – but those who tried to stop him “became the subject of the defendant’s anger”, Mr Smith told the court.
Qaiser blackmailed them and tried to flood their servers with DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, putting the sites out of action and costing them dearly.
Qaiser, who initially denied the crimes and claimed he himself had been hacked, admitted blackmail and fraud by false representation, among other charges.
Prosecutors suspect Qaiser has money stored in offshore accounts but have been unable to directly trace them so far, Mr Smith said.
Passing sentence and jailing Qaiser for six years, five months, Judge Timothy Lamb QC said: “The harm caused by your offending was extensive.”
SCAM: Qaiser sent porn users emails that pretended to be from the law