A British hacker, who successfully hacked hundreds of millions of computers worldwide, has been jailed for six years and five months. The hacker, Zain Qaiser, was a member of an extensive cyber-criminal group that operated in over 20 countries. He was an integral member of the group, being the main man behind malware distribution.
According to a statement by the U.K National Crime Agency (NCA), the 24-year-old hacker made over £700,000 ($915,000) from his victims. The total is likely to be much higher, the agency suspects.
The Essex native received the money from his victims mainly through cryptocurrencies. He ordered the victims to send the money in a crypto of his choice. He would then cash out using illegitimate financial service providers. In one quoted case, one of his U.S accomplices received the money from Qaiser’s victims, transferred it onto pre-loaded credit cards and then cashed out in random locations throughout the U.S. He used the cash to purchase cryptos which he sent to Qaiser.
Qaiser was an instrumental member of the Russian-speaking cyber criminals group, the NCA revealed. Other than his exceptional hacking skills, he was fluent in English and this came in handy, especially since the other hackers were mainly Russian.
He would buy advertising space on pornographic websites under the nickname ‘K!NG’ on behalf of the group. He used fraudulent identities to dupe the websites. He also used fake documents such as passports that his crime gang had secured.
Once he got the advertising space, his crime group would post ads that contained malware. Users who clicked on the ads were redirected to other websites which contained even more malware. The malware would take advantage of user devices that had any vulnerability, infecting them with malicious payload.
One of the group’s most successful projects was Reveton, a malware that locked a victim’s browser. The infected device would then display a message that claimed to be from a government agency. It would then inform the user that he had committed a crime during his browsing session and that he needed to pay a fine which ranged from $300 to $1,000.
Websites that busted Qaiser and his crime group tried to stop him, but to no avail. He blackmailed them and where blackmail didn’t work, he launched DDoS attacks on them. The attacks cost these websites more than $500,000 in lost revenue.
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