Two travelers from Poland used fraudulent measures to blackmail a Manchester based online gambling operator. The pair used DDoS threats and tried to take over half the company. Unsuccessful they are now in jail following a sentence from the Manchester Crown Court this week.
The criminals Patryk Surmacki (35) and Piotr Smirnow (31) pleaded guilty in court on two counts of blackmail. This was after a police sting operation ensued with the cooperation of the online gambling operator who tipped them off.
The offenders who are computer programmers planned an admitted conspiracy to access, use and impair computers.
Judge Michael Henshaw presiding over the case was told that Surmacki and Smirnow threatened to close down the online gambling company's website if the operator did not relinquish a 50 percent share of the business which is in excess of GBP 30 million p.a.
Earlier this year in August the blackmailers hired a US hacker to launch a Distributed Denial of Service attack on the website shutting down the website for five hours and costing the company around GBP 32,000.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Chris Mossop made a statement after sentencing: "With millions of pounds and potentially dozens of jobs involved, Smirnow and Surmacki were playing for incredibly high stakes and clearly knew exactly what they were doing. They may have been using the latest technology but this was simply good old-fashioned blackmail.
"They behaved like a couple of sinister playground bullies who thought they could use the threat of financial annihilation to extort compliance".
The sentence put them in prison for five years and four months. Judge Henshaw said:
"What you wanted was a share of the business and in order to achieve that the victims of the offences had to know who they were dealing with.
"The offences were a demonstration of what you can do in order to reinforce a threat.
"You took the law into your own hands in the belief that your methods would achieve immediate result.
"The victims of these offences knew the consequences of this type of attack could be potentially devastating.
"But what you didn't count on was the victims telling the police, which they did."
The British victim, said: "This case made me fear for my personal safety as well as for the future of my business. Which is why I felt compelled to take action against the perpetrators.
"No-one should have to succumb to blackmail and this sentence should act as a warming to those involved in cyber extortion that the police and the courts will view this type of conduct very seriously."