Barking hacker ordered to fork over £270k and Rolex or face more jail time
PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 December 2019
A Barking hacker sentenced to six years in prison has been told to pay £270,000 and sell his Rolex watch or face more jail time.
Zain Qaiser, of Wakering Road, was jailed in April for blackmailing porn users over the internet as part of a Russian-speaking cyber crime group.
Kingston Crown Court ordered the 25-year-old to pay the money - thought to be the sum of his available assets - and sell the watch within three months or face two more years in prison at a hearing on Wednesday, December 4.
Over six years from 2012 the former computer science student used fake identities and front companies to buy advertising space on porn websites. The group he was part of then laced the ads with malware.
One of those hostile programmes locked users' screens and pretended to be from law enforcement agencies like the FBI. The lock screens would ask for a fine between $300 (£227) and $1,000 (£759) to unlock their device.
The hacking campaign affected millions of computers in more than 20 countries, according to the National Crime Agency, which led the investigation.
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"Zain Qaiser was an integral part of a highly sophisticated cyber crime group," said Nigel Leary, head of operations for the NCA's national cyber crime unit.
"He assisted the group in generating millions of pounds in ransom payments by blackmailing countless victims, from which he himself profited hugely.
"Confiscation orders are a key tool in allowing us to pursue illegally-obtained assets and preventing convicted criminals from funding luxury lifestyles on their release.
"This was an extremely long-running and complex investigation which proves that we will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure cyber criminals are brought to justice and cannot continue to benefit from their illicit earnings."
The law enforcement agency said Qaiser, who used the online name K!NG, spent his ill-gotten-gains on high-end hotels, prostitutes, gambling, drugs and luxury items, one of them being the £5,000 Rolex watch.
Qaiser admitted to 11 offences in 2018, including blackmail, fraud, money laundering and computer misuse.
At the time of the trial, the NCA said it was the most serious case of cyber crime they had ever investigated.