Threat Management

Cyber criminals sentenced to five years in prison for blackmail

Two Polish gaming programmers will serve time in prison for blackmailing online businesses to conform to their demands.

Piotr Smirnow, 31, of Warsaw, and Patryk Surmacki, 35, of Szezecin, were each sentenced Wednesday to five years and four months in prison after pleading guilty in a Manchester, England court to charges of blackmail and unauthorized acts on computers.

The duo threatened two online businesses – one a marketing company based in Manchester and the other an unnamed U.S. internet software platform – with distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) if they did not share cuts of their business profits.

Their ruse came to an end after the CEO of the U.S.-based company agreed to meet with the men in a hotel room at London's Heathrow airport, where authorities secretly videotaped the discussion in which the accused confessed to a DDoS attack on the Manchester-based online marketing company.

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