A student from London has been jailed for stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds by blackmailing porn website users with ransomware

Zain Qaiser is the most prolific cyber criminal to be sentenced in the UK after he was jailed to more than 6 years for crimes committed between 2012 and 2014.

Mr Qaiser stole an estimated £700,000 by purchasing adverts on legal porn websites. The adverts would install ransomware when clicked, making all data on the computer inaccessible, the victims were then told they could retrieve their data if they paid ransoms of up to £200.

It is unclear whether victims did retrieve their data.

He was first arrested 5 years ago however concerns to his mental health and the complexity of the investigation led to the case being delayed.

Working from his bedroom in London, Mr Qaiser first started cyber-attacks at the age of 17 when he would make money through ransomware. He then went on to contact the Russian controller of one of the most successful attack tools and agreed to split profits. He also worked with criminal cyber organisations from China and the US and is believed to have earned up to £4m by playing a part in other criminal operations.

The NCA have found it incredibly difficult to charge Mr Qaiser over the last 6 years as no victims had reported his crimes. Victims were likely too embarrassed to come forward and therefor took their chances and paid the ransom.

Mr Qaiser also used his foreign contacts to help shift his money, making proof of his earnings incredibly difficult to track.

If it wasn’t for Mr Qaisers lavish lifestyle, spending his money on expensive Rolex’s, hotels, prostitutes and gambling, he may have been able to stay under the NCA’s radar.