Hacker Zain Qaiser earned £500,000 Blackmailing Porn Site Users

East London-based Zain Qaiser targeted millions of computers and it is believed that he earned over £500,000 blackmailing porn site users.

Hacker Zain Qaiser earned £500,000 Blackmailing Porn Site Users ft

"you took the opportunity to spend large sums of ill-gotten money in casinos"

Zain Qaiser, aged 24, of Barking, East London, was jailed for six years and five months on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, for targeting millions of computers with locking ransomware.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) investigated the crime and have called it the UK’s most serious cybercrime.

Qaiser was part of an international, Russian crime group that made huge profits from victims in over 20 countries.

Prosecutor Joel Smith explained that the offences were committed between 2012 and 2014.

The former computer science student bought masses of advertising from porn websites using the online name K!NG.

When users clicked the ads, their computers were exposed to sophisticated software such as Angler Exploit Kit.

Infected computers displayed a message impersonating law enforcement in the user’s country saying an offence had been committed and demanding payment of up to £770.

Kingston Crown Court heard that Qaiser made over £500,000 through the scheme, though it is possible that he made much more.

Qaiser spent the money on nights in luxury hotels, gambling and luxury items including a £5,000 Rolex watch.

In one 10-month period, he gambled £68,000 in a London casino, despite being unemployed and living with his family.

Hacker Zain Qaiser earned £500,000 Blackmailing Porn Site Users

It was heard that some advertisers were “happy to turn a blind eye” to Qaiser’s actions. However, those who tried to stop him “became the subject of the defendant’s anger”.

Qaiser then blackmailed them and tried to flood their servers with Distributed Denial of Service attacks. This would put sites out of action and costing businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He even threatened to spam their sites with child pornography.

He was arrested in July 2014 and was charged in February 2017.

Qaiser initially denied the crimes and claimed he had been hacked himself. A trial was set for February 2018 but was abandoned when he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

While he was at Goodmayes Hospital, North London, the hospital Wi-Fi was used to access online advertising websites Qaiser had used for his offending.

Qaiser was arrested for laundering around £120,000 while on bail and charged in December 2018.

It is believed that Qaiser has stored money in offshore accounts but investigators have been unable to directly trace them.

Qaiser later entered guilty pleas to an 11-count indictment.

Hacker Zain Qaiser earned £500,000 Blackmailing Porn Site Users 2

He admitted three counts of blackmail; three counts of fraud by false representation; four counts of doing an unauthorised act with intent to impair the operation of a computer; and one count of possessing criminal property.

Judge Timothy Lamb QC said: “The harm caused by your offending was extensive – so extensive that there does not appear to be a reported case involving anything comparable.

“Whatever your motivation for mounting these attacks on the internet you took the opportunity to spend large sums of ill-gotten money in casinos, on an expensive watch and luxury hotel services.

“All the constituent offences were part and parcel of your role as the self-styled ‘K!NG’ of the internet.”

“It has been asserted on your behalf you are remorseful. I have seen no outward expression of that.”

Zain Qaiser remained expressionless as he was jailed for six years and four months.

Nigel Leary, NCA Senior Investigating Officer, said:

“This was one of the most sophisticated, serious and organised cybercrime groups the National Crime Agency has ever investigated.

“The group owned and operated the Angler Exploit Kit – one of the most successful and closely guarded pieces of malicious software ever developed by the cybercrime community.

“Zain Qaiser was an integral part of this organised crime group generating millions of pounds in ransom payments by blackmailing countless victims and threatening them with bogus police investigations.”

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”


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