An alleged computer hacker living in a caravan park on an island off the Kent coast has admitted to stealing customer data from the websites of over a dozen high-profile companies.
Grant West, 25, admitted at Southwark Crown Court Thursday (14 December) to obtaining details of 165,000 Just Eat customers' in a bid to sell them on the so-called 'dark web' for bitcoin.
Under the pseudonym "courvoisier", West stands accused of selling usernames, passwords and drugs to buyers on an underground website only accessible with the use of special anonymising software.
While living at Ashcroft Caravan Park on the Isle of Sheppey, he reportedly targeted 17 websites between 25 August and 30 September this year.
West also admitted using customer data stolen from Just Eat back in 2015 to make fraudulent translations between July and September that same year.
He did not steal bank details of customers, but Just Eat claimed that recovering from the cyberattack cost upwards of £200,000.
West admitted conspiracy to defraud, hacking, money laundering and drugs offences.
The hacked firms were Sainsburys, Nectar, Groupon, AO.com, Ladbrokes, Coral, Uber, Vitality, RS Feva Class Association, Asda, the British Cardiovascular Society, Mighty Deals, Truly Experiences, T Mobile, M R Porter, the Finnish Bitcoin exchange and Argos.
A report by security journalist Brian Krebs from October 2015 named the user "courvoisier" as being tentatively linked to the hack at TalkTalk via a post on Alphabay.
But it remains unknown if West was behind that same dark web account at the time.
According to Kent Online, prosecutors found the suspect had sold cannabis online while on bail awaiting trial for the 2015 Just Eat fraud, to which he pleaded not guilty. When detained in September 2017, police found £25,000 in cash and an undisclosed amount of bitcoin.
Among 10 charges, he pleaded guilty to laundering bitcoin from January 2015 and September 2017.
Prosecutor Kevin Barry told the court: "He had a shop on the dark web, where he had an identity. From that shop he was selling not only computer access credentials, details, but also alongside it – on another shelf if you like – he was selling drugs which were posted out to customers."
West has been remanded in custody. A date for sentencing has not yet been released.