Categories: Security

Hacker Jailed For Stealing £88,000 In Gold Bullion

Police have jailed a 25-year-old hacker who stole tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of gold bullion after illegally accessing the computer records of a gold trading company.

Adam Penny, 25, was convicted in part on evidence found on his six iPhones and two MacBooks when police arrested him at his “luxury” flat in Canary Wharf in June of last year.

MacBook found in toilet

Penny had hidden one of the MacBooks in a toilet cistern to keep detectives from finding it, the Metropolitan Police said.

He accessed the names, addresses and parcel tracking numbers of customers awaiting deliveries of gold bullion and passed the details on to three other men.

Those men then waited outside the addresses and intercepted the deliveries of six packages of gold worth more than £88,000, which they then sold to an unsuspecting London jeweller.

According to the police. in one case an interception in Newcastle failed because the postman knew the intended victim and refused to turn over the parcel.

Penny’s devices contained his instructions to the accomplices and showed he had tried to extort additional funds from the bullion trading company.

Online risk

“Penny hacked into the computers of the company and got others to intercept the gold packages for him,” stated Detective Constable Matt Burke of the Met Police’s cyber crime unit. “When even this wasn’t enough for his lavish lifestyle, he blackmailed the company for £50,000.”

Penny pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and computer misuse at Kingston Crown Court and was jailed for five years and four months.

His accomplices, Joshua Wilkins, 25, Nour Mansouri, 24, and Daniel William Rabbitte, 25, all from Hornchurch, Essex, were sentenced for conspiracy to steal.

Wilkins was jailed for 22 months, Mansouri received 200 hours of community service and was ordered to pay £1,000 and Rabbitte was given an 18-month sentence suspended for two years.

The Metropolitan Police’s Cyber Crime Unit said the case highlights the growing risks posed by business’ online operations and the importance of reporting and investigation procedures.

Cyber defence

The government is set to launch a new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) next month amidst broader turmoil within central government digital services.

While the centre grows out of GCHQ and is primarily intended to protect critical infrastructure, it is to be headquartered in London, reflecting the government’s intent to provide centralised coordination of defence against computer crime and online threats.

On Wednesday the National Audit Office said the UK government’s overall approach to computer security remains “confusing” and said that while the establishment of the NCSC was a welcome step, more “wider reforms” would be necessary.

The National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), formed in 2013 from the merger of the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) and the computer operations of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), also coordinates computer crime response.

At least 12 separate teams or organisations in the centre of government currently have a role in protecting information, the NAO said in its report.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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