Polish computer programmers Patryk Surmacki and Piotr Smirnow were recently sentenced to 5 years and 4 months in jail for perpetrating a blackmail scheme that also involved the use of a DDoS attack as intimidation. Prior to sentencing, the pair plead guilty to blackmail and they admitted to conspiracy to access, use and impair computers without authorization under the United Kingdom’s Computer Misuse Act of 1990.
BBC News reports that the criminal acts began when Surmacki and Smirnow met in person with the owner of a Manchester, England online gambling company. The crooks had known the company owner for several years. They demanded a 50% share of the proceeds from the online business. The company owner refused the “business proposal” and his business was subsequently put out of commission for 5 hours with a sustained DDoS attack. The gambling company lost more than £32,000 as a result of the attack.
A secondary victim of the attack was the American ISP that hosts the gambling site. The owner of the ISP offered to meet with the blackmailers in order to mediate a solution. He met with them first on Skype, and then in person. The latter meeting was recorded by the police. (View the video of the meeting.) During this meeting, the criminals stated their demands and made threats against the businesses once again. Surmacki and Smirnow were arrested upon leaving the meeting.
In this day and age of anonymous DDoS attacks and anonymous forms of currency such as Bitcoin, it seems incredible that two self-described “creative” guys can be so stupid as to be out in the open about who they are and what they plan to do to follow through on threats. The police video, in which the faces of the blackmailers can be clearly seen, contains their spoken threats against the businesses. Prosecutors in the UK must have thought they had been handed such evidence on a silver platter.
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