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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:27 pm 
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Chesterfield taxi firm loses tens of thousands in cruel cyber attack

Fraudsters targeted a Chesterfield taxi firm to try to blackmail it out of £2,000. The pair of criminals bombarded A-Line Taxis with countless phone calls over a 30-hour period.

Gracia Mwbiti and Ehsen Abdul-Razak threatened the owner that it would not stop until he paid the ransom. All-in-all, it was heard that the firm lost out on tens of thousands of pounds in lost profits.

The men, both 24, were also found to have stolen thousands of compromised bank details to defraud people out of their money.

The offences were also committed while Abdul-Razak was in prison for other offences including drugs. This meant that he coordinated the cyber-attack from inside his cell, possibly using a contraband phone, Derby Crown Court heard.

Mwbiti, of Colne House, Barking, London, and Abdul-Razak, of Strachen Close, Maidstone, Kent, were sent to prison.

Kevin Barry, prosecuting, said: “The offending took place over three years between January 1, 2016 and December 4, 2018.

“The first two counts refer to an incident of blackmail at a taxi firm while the others are of obtaining and using compromised bank details.

“In February 2017, the defendant launched a telephone denial of service (TDOS) attack on A-Line Taxis in Chesterfield.

“They set to blackmail the proprietor, demanding £2,000 to cease the attack. He did not pay.”

Mr Barry explained how the pair purchased equipment that would allow them to repeatedly call the taxi firm day and night for around 30 hours.

This meant that the firm missed important customer calls and bookings and lost reputation due to something entirely out of their control.

The losses are difficult to calculate, but Mr Barry said they could be expected to be in the tens of thousands of pounds.

In a victim personal statement, the owner of A-Line Taxis said it had a large effect on him and his company.

“He feared that his business would be destroyed,” Mr Barry said. “He did not sleep for two nights.”

Both men pleaded guilty to misusing a computer to deny service and blackmail.

They also pleaded guilty to fraud and possessing bank account details to be used in fraudulent activities.

This was because police also found that the pair had access to thousands of compromised bank details over the period.

Matthew Radstone, mitigating for Mwbiti, said: “These offences date back some years now and since the commission of these offences, no further offending has taken place of the same nature.

“He is a man of effective good character, although he has a driving offence in 2017.

“He has undertaken modelling work since then, albeit sporadically, and he has tried to work throughout lockdown.”

David Chadwick, mitigating for Abdul-Razak, said: “The defendant now works as a stone-setter.

“He committed these offences when he was 19 and 20 years old.

“But the offences are of some seriousness and I concede that they will amount to a custodial sentence.”

But Mr Chadwick attempted to reduce his sentence by pointing to excellent references he has received from his work colleagues.

Recorder Kevin Hegarty QC handed Mwbiti 30 months in prison, and Abdul-Razak 34 months.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:29 pm 
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This meant that he coordinated the cyber-attack from inside his cell, possibly using a contraband phone, Derby Crown Court heard.

Well I doubt he used semaphore. 8-[

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