A teenager from Norwich has been banged up for 20 months after offering his services as a “hacker-for-hire” and supplying stolen online personal data in a raft of crimes which made him over £400,000.
Elliot Gunton, aged 19, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court late last week after pleading guilty to hacking and money laundering at an earlier hearing.
He also entered a guilty plea to the additional charge of hacking into an Australian Instagram account.
The court heard how the police found cybercrime-enabling software on Gunton’s laptop after a routine search of his home conducted in April 2018, carried out to ensure that he was complying with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed by the court in 2016 for previous offences.
Police also found evidence of Gunton advertising compromised data for sale and offering his services as a hacker-for-hire. The data, which could include personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, addresses, and online account details, could then be used to commit fraud and SIM-swapping attacks.
In a bid to avoid detection, Gunton offered his services in exchange $3,000 in Bitcoin. However, despite taking measures to conceal his activity, police were able to track and later seize £275,000 worth of Bitcoin under his control. He had also failed to erase conversations he had held online where he discussed his criminal activity.
Using the alias @Gambler on Twitter, Gunton posted “having lots of money is cool… but having lots of money without people knowing is cooler”.
Gunton was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay back £407,359. He was also issued with a three-and-a-half-year Community Behaviour Order, limiting his access to Internet-enabled devices.
Detective Sergeant Mark Stratford said: “This was a complex investigation which relied on the expertise of officers and staff from the Norfolk & Suffolk Cybercrime Unit. This emerging type of criminality requires police investigators to be at the forefront of technological advancements in order to effectively combat the ever-growing paradigm of cyber-crime.”
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