LONDON (Reuters) - British authorities have asked a known hacker to pay more than 900,000 pounds ($ 1.25 million) of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to his victims in a first-of-its-kind case for London's Metropolitan Police.
Grant West, 27, who worked on the Internet under the pseudonym "Corvoisier", received a cryptocurrency worth about one million pounds sterling, after the phishing attacks on hundreds of companies around the world.
West used email scams to get financial data for tens of thousands of customers, and then sold personal data online for cryptocurrencies stored in multiple accounts.
Police seized the coins after West's arrest in September 2017 following a two-year investigation. The SD card was also confiscated with 78 million individual usernames and passwords and 63,000 credit and debit card details.
One of the frauds by West included introducing himself as a representative of Just Eat, and trying to steal financial information for 165,000 customers. Although the attack did not succeed in obtaining the financial statements, police said its actions cost the company £ 200,000.
Notable victims include companies such as Sainsbury, Argos and Uber.
At the time of his arrest, West's cryptocurrency was worth about £ 1.6 million. But the highly volatile value of Bitcoin and others make it difficult to determine the value of confiscation, according to prosecutor Kevin Barry.
Judge Joanna Corner said police could seize £ 922,978.14 (more than $ 1 million) from West's accounts. The cryptocurrency will be sold and victims will be compensated for the damage caused.
This is the first confiscation of the capital police, where cryptocurrencies have become popular with criminals because of their unknown nature and ease of encryption of accounts.
In July 2018, Siri police became the first UK force to successfully seize the cryptocurrency, confiscating £ 1.2 million from Sergej Tersko, a senior member of an organized crime gang. The currency has been converted into pounds sterling and Siri police have been granted permission to hold funds for government and police funds.
West was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in May 2018 for a variety of crimes, including conspiracy to defraud property and possession of criminal tools.
"The unit is committed to ensuring that individuals who commit crimes on the Internet are identified, prosecuted and confiscated," said Kirsty Goldsmith, head of the Cybercrime Unit.