A pair of Polish computer hackers who attempted to blackmail an online casino business out of millions of pounds have been jailed. Piotr Smirnow, 31 and Patryk Surmacki, 35, pleaded guilty at a hearing to two charges each of blackmail and unauthorised acts on computers.
The two contacted the owner of a large online casino business and arranged to meet him. During the meetings the pair demanded a 50% share of the business and said that if the offer was declined then they would “take down” the casino’s servers and prevent the website from operating.
Earlier this year the two carried out their threat and the victim contacted the police and told them he was being blackmailed. The victim then set up another meeting in a hotel room which was bugged by police; the two were then arrested after leaving the meeting.
After sentencing them to five years and four months each Judge Michael Henshaw said, “What you wanted was a share of the business and in order to achieve that the victims of the offenses had to know who they were dealing with…But what you didn’t count on was the victims telling the police, which they did.”
After the ruling the victim said, “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.”