A computer hacker, who was living a lavish lifestyle in London's Canary Wharf, has been convicted of orchestrating a series of cyberattacks on the computers of a gold bullion firm and using the pilfered data to steal nearly £90,000 worth of the sought-after metal. In the well-oiled hacking scheme, Adam Penny, 25, stole the names, addresses and parcel tracking numbers of customers awaiting deliveries of gold bullion before passing the data to three associates who then intercepted the packages.
In a court hearing at Kingston Crown Court on 12 September it emerged that the culprit and his team stole – or attempted to steal – six packages of gold with an estimated value of over £88,000.
According to the Met's cybercrime division, the hacker and his team then sold the stolen gold to an unsuspecting London jeweller.
Penny was convicted on conspiracy to steal, blackmail and unauthorised access to a computer. He was sentenced to five years and four months in jail.
Following his initial arrest in the Canary Wharf area on 26 June, police seized six iPhones and two Apple MacBooks – one of which was discovered in a toilet cistern. Analysis of the uncovered devices produced evidence that Penny had also managed a lucrative extortion scheme.
"Penny hacked into the computers of the company and got others to intercept the gold packages for him," explained detective constable and cybercrime expert Matt Burke. "When even this wasn't enough for his lavish lifestyle, he blackmailed the company for £50,000. At the time of his arrest Penny was living in a luxury apartment in the Canary Wharf area, despite having no paid employment that we could identify."
Alongside Penny, three others were sentenced for conspiracy to steal and for their part in intercepting deliveries of gold: Joshua Wilkins, 25, of Burns Road and Nour Mansouri, 24, of Hanley Road, both north London; and Daniel William Rabbitte, 25, of Stanley Road, Hornchurch, Essex.
Wilkins was jailed for 22 months, Mansouri was given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £1,000 and Rabbitte was given an 18 months jail sentence suspended for two years.
"This case highlights the importance of robust cybersecurity systems for businesses and particularly those with an online presence," said detective inspector Sanjiv Gohil of the cybercrime unit. "In this case the breach was reported to the police and we were able to investigate and bring Penny to justice without further compromise to the company and their customers."