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Home > Media

Make $$$s blackmailing on the Internet

29 October 2004

There aren't many things that are good and bad in equal measures. The limited number of examples include the film Basic Instinct, KFC and building working scale models of HMS Belfast. (OK, you may have a fantastically accurate miniature destroyer with which to scare the ducks at your local pond, but was it REALLY worth four years of your life?)

However, one thing that is unquestionably fab-yet-shit is the Internet. It's a phenomenally powerful communication medium, it's a genuinely global forum of free speech and it's got a handful of genuinely good sites like http://www.skepdic.com, yet 99.9 per cent of what's on it is shit: homepages lovingly detailing the dreary lives of nonentities from around the world, porn of every description and zillions of megabytes of mindless corporate twaddle, last updated in 1996.

And this week a story about Internet blackmailers suggested that even Internet crime is, basically, shit.

A betting firm, Blue Square, received a ransom demand from techno-crims (actually 'techno-chavs' might be closer to the mark) who demanded money, otherwise they would send out child porn emails in the company's name. Some wonk from Blue Square said: 'We obviously don't want people to get child porn e-mails purporting to come from us.'

Well, obviously not. That could easily besmirch the fine, unsullied reputation of on-line gambling. But what's truly pathetic about the whole thing is the ransom demand: 4,860.

Just under five grand? Whoa, those blackmailers were obviously going for the big score. Considering the time and effort involved in perpetrating blackmail (not to mention the - admittedly minimal - amount of IT savvy required), didn't it occur to them to ask for a bit more? Or a lot more?

It's like Goodfellas in reverse. Instead of risking prosecution and imprisonment for wealth and a lifestyle beyond most people's wildest dreams, they've done it for a modest income. In fact, it would have been easier just to get a half-decent job for a couple of months.

The Internet: cool stuff!

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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