AOH :: ISN-3097.HTM

Trio sentenced to 8 years in U.K. cyberattack scheme

Trio sentenced to 8 years in U.K. cyberattack scheme
Trio sentenced to 8 years in U.K. cyberattack scheme 

By Graeme Wearden and Tom Espiner
Special to CNET
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 
Russian authorities.

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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