First picture of hacker who blackmailed Instagram users and told cops: ‘It’s not even a crime’ | #computerhacking | #hacking


This is the first picture of a teenager who hacked into US Instagram accounts and blackmailed users before telling cops: “It’s not even a crime”.

Gurvinder Bhangu, who was 16 at the time, managed to illegally access the victim’s e-mail and Instagram account – with 1.1million followers – before demaning money to return access.

Then, aged 18, he illegally hacked into other email, social media and online accounts of two more victims.

READ MORE: Teen blackmailed US Instagram influencers by hacking accounts from Great Barr bedroom

Police said he committed the crimes through “social engineering” – where personal information is obtained through deception – using compromised details to reset account security information.

A complex investigation was carried out by the West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit in association with other law enforcement agencies following the report in 2017.

West Midlands Police worked alongside the United States Secret Service and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office REACT Taskforce in California to prove he was behind the online offences.

When questioned Bhangu told police officers: “It’s not even a crime, the judge will just laugh and won’t know what it’s about.”

But the now 23-year-old, of Grasmere Close, Hamstead, was convicted of blackmail, fraud by false representation and offences under the Computer Misuse Act and jailed for the offences.

He was locked up for 21 months and ordered to pay £4,600 compensation at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, October 26.

Jailing Bhangu, Judge Roderick Henderson said he hoped to send a message to anyone else “tempted to do what [he] did and cause enormous damage to people.”

He acknowledged there had been a long delay between every offence dating back to 2015 and three relating to the early months of 2016.

But he added: “These were computer hacking offences. I have to consider the appropriate level of sentence and the question of whether I require you to serve this now or not.

“The fact you passed on details of people’s computer access details to other people is a significant aggravating feature.

“In my judgement this needs to be marked by a sentence that you have to serve.

“It needs to be understood by people that are tempted to do what you did and cause enormous damage to people.”

West Midlands Police has since issued the following advice: “You can reduce the chances of becoming the victim of an unlawful online account takeover by making use of multi-factor authentication services and using strong passwords.

“You can get online safety advice on the National Cyber Security Centre website https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/ ”

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