In what just might be the most fascinating story of 2013, a casino in the United Kingdom announced in December that it had been the victim of a serious cyber attack at the hands of two Polish hackers. The company has remained unnamed in the news, but media sources indicate that the multi-million dollar online casino operation employed more than 60 workers and took in millions of pounds in annual revenue each year. The revelation of a cyber attack is hardly where the story ends, however. The hackers who dared to compromise the casino’s data integrity also decided to raise their own stakes at take a chance at blackmail.
Heathrow Meeting: Hackers Set the Terms of Their Agreement with the Casino Operator
The most interesting part of this story isn’t the cyber attack, or at least the threat of one. In fact, it’s the use of blackmail by the hackers that makes this such a compelling case study in how not to deal with today’s major corporations. The two Polish hackers arranged for a meeting with casino representatives at Heathrow Airport, where they promised to discuss an interesting and lucrative business opportunity.
Casino representatives agreed to the meeting with the two men, but later found out that the entire meeting was designed as an extortion plot. The Polish hackers threatened to steal customer data and bring the 30-million-pound operation to a screeching stop if they were not offered at least a 50 percent stake in the online casino’s operations. Clearly, representatives of the company didn’t take kindly to this type of plot.
With a rising concern for online security, and stories associated with spying, even at a government level, the anxiety that both online users and companies face is increasing. Luckily, this story has a good ending for the business.
Work with Authorities and an Arrest in the Case
Shortly after the meeting, representatives of the casino contacted local police and the case was forwarded to the Serious Crime Division. The two perpetrators were arrested and jailed for their efforts. The case is being touted as a glowing example of what can happen when local police work with higher government authorities to break up organised crime, maintain data integrity, and allow business to go on as usual.