Multi-million pound cyber scam targets Manchester company in blackmail plot – two men charged

By Danielle Wainwright

Two men are to appear in court today in connection with a multi-million-pound cyber scam which targeted a Manchester-based internet company.

Piotr Smirnaw, 31, of Tawerny, Warsaw, Poland and Patryk Surmacki, 35, of Szezecin, Poland, were both charged with two offences of blackmail and one offence of unauthorised acts on computers under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The pair are due to appear before Uxbridge Magistrates Court in London after they were arrested at a Heathrow Airport hotel on Wednesday.

The inquiry into the denial-of-service attack is the largest of its kind yet undertaken by Greater Manchester Police.

Detective Inspector Chris Mossop, of the Serious Crime Division, said: “This investigation centres on an allegation that the on-line company was blackmailed.

“Denial of service attacks have become increasingly common offences in recent years and can have a devastating effect on the victim’s on-line business or presence.

“They involve offenders flooding the target website with information, rendering it unable to function as it should do.”

The case has involve an investigation by a number of investigations across several countries including the UK, Poland and the US.

DI Mossop continued: “These arrests demonstrate that GMP takes cyber-crime and extortion extremely seriously and will vigorously investigate allegations.

“With that in mind we would always encourage anyone who suspects they have been the victim of such offences to call the police.”

Anyone with concerns about cybercrime can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Picture courtesy of Paul Ely via Flickr, with thanks.

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