London Student Who Made ₹6.3 Crore By Blackmailing Porn Users Worldwide, Arrested

While most of us struggle to get financially settled even in our mid-20s, Zain Qaiser, a student from Barking, London, cracked the formula of earning big bucks at the young age of 17. However, what ultimately resulted in his fall is the path he chose to become rich.

Using his impeccable programming skills, Qaiser used to scam visitors to pornography sites around the world. He began his journey from the bedroom of his home in Barking, by making money through “ransomware” attacks.

In case you do not know, in these types of attacks, a computer is hijacked and frozen by a piece of software. The user then has to pay a certain fee to get a release.

Qaiser got in touch with a Russian controller of one of the most potent attack tools and agreed to share the profits if his operation was a success. He also forged contacts with online criminals from China and the USA to help him in shifting the cash.

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In just 18 months of time, he booked advertising spaces on some of the world’s most popular legal pornography websites by posing as a trusted supplier of online promotions. But the adverts that were promoted on the websites contained a malicious tool called the “Angler”. And whenever a user clicked on any of the fake adverts, it would start an automatic download of the attack kit.

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Angler would then take control of the machines with no proper anti-virus protection by searching for vulnerabilities and delivering its ‘ransomware’. This would be followed by a message showing the user, purportedly from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, that he/she has broken the law. It also asked the user to pay an immediate fine of $200 (Rs. 13,000) to avoid a three-year sentence.

Most of the users agreed to pay the money in a bid to avoid embarrassment from friends and family members. But that’s not all, the message also came with a deadline for the payment to be made and blackmailed the user by stating that the police had captured webcam screenshots during the visit to the porn site.

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According to BBC, investigators have found out that he has made a minimum profit of £700,000 (6.3 crores approx) while his network may have made more than £4m. However, the exact amount of money he has made is almost impossible to discover according to the police.

Qaiser was finally arrested five years ago but his sentence came now as the case was delayed because of the complexity of the investigation and mental health concerns. He has been jailed for more than six years at Kingston Crown Court.

The operation turned out to be a massive success for the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Hereby, we request everyone reading the piece to be careful about clicking ads on websites as cybercrime is real and can land you in deep trouble.