Feeds

Playboy 'hacker' jailed for two years

Extortion, blackmail, porridge

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

A supermarket shelf stacker who claimed he hacked into Playboy's network in an attempt to blackmail the company was jailed for two years yesterday.

Simon Jones, 25, conned porn site bosses into believing he had access to private customer accounts. But his ruse backfired when US secret service agents and officers from the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit carried out a dawn raid on the house he shared with his parents in Southampton, resulting in his arrest and eventual imprisonment.

The scam began when Jones (AKA Paymaster 69) got hold of a number of Playboy user accounts and passwords. He used this information in an attempt to dupe Playboy bosses into believing he was an elite hacker who had access to their entire customer database. He threatened to flog this supposed goldmine of information unless Playboy bosses paid him hush money. Playboy's website clocks up an estimated five million hits a day.

Jones, a science graduate who has failed to realise his dreams of working in IT, sent extortion notes from a PC in his bedroom. When Playboy paid him $100 (£60) to protect two customer accounts, Jones paid the money into his bank account creating a trail of evidence that led police straight to his door.

Jones pleaded guilty to blackmail when he appeared at Southampton Crown Court earlier this week. His lawyer, James Leonard, said his client was naive and committed his crimes out of mischief rather than greed. But Jones action's forced Playboy into mounting an internal security review, costing $6,500 (£3,400), and triggered an international investigation.

Jailing Jones for two years, Judge Boggis discounted this explanation. "This was a planned invasion. Your e-mail to Playboy set out your motive to extract money," he said.

A spokesman for Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, told The Daily Telegraph: "Playboy took the blackmail so seriously because Jones claimed to be part of a hacking group that had hacked into their secure server. Had he done this then US law would have required Playboy to tell all its customers their accounts had been accessed which would have been very embarrassing.

"Later we discovered he had not hacked into their server but had traded a couple of passwords with someone else on a website," he said. ®

Related stories

Playboy.com hacked
Buy pornography, fight psoriasis
Playboy gets into the Hutch

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you
Mass patch for issues across its software catalog
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
Oracle working on at least 13 Heartbleed fixes
Big Red's cloud is safe and Oracle Linux 6 has been patched, but Java has some issues
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.