By Graeme Wearden and Tom Espiner
Special to CNET News.com
October 4, 2006
Three Russian citizens were sentenced Wednesday to eight years each for
extorting money from U.K. e-commerce companies.
Ivan Maksakov, Alexander Petrov and Denis Stepanov were accused of
receiving $4 million from firms that they threatened with cyberattacks.
The trio concentrated on U.K. Internet gambling sites, according to the
prosecution. One bookmaker, which refused to pay a demand for $10,000,
was attacked and brought offline--which reportedly cost it more than
$200,000 a day in lost business.
Maksakov, Petrov and Stepanov were arrested in 2004 through a joint
operation between the U.K. National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) and the
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which has now replaced the
NHTCU, confirmed that the three had been jailed and fined 100,000 rubles
(about $3,700) each. However, SOCA declined to say whether the
convictions would help reduce cybercrime in the U.K. or encourage more
firms to come forward about blackmail demands.
Senior police sources have expressed concern that U.K. companies keep
quiet when they are hacked or blackmailed, rather than informing the
authorities. This can create a climate where malicious hackers are
encouraged to launch attacks.
Graeme Wearden and Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.
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