How a Bookmaker and a Whiz Kid Took On an Extortionist — and Won

    Date03 May 2005
    CategoryHacks/Cracks
    11034
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    The e-mail began, "Your site is under attack," and it gave Mickey Richardson two choices: "You can send us $40K by Western Union [and] your site will be protected not just this weekend but for the next 12 months," or, "If you choose not to pay...you will be under attack each weekend for the next 20 weeks, or until you close your doors."

    Richardson runs BetCris.com, an online wagering site, one of hundreds of sites ensconced in Costa Rica that take bets from Americans (and others around the world) without concern for U.S. bookmaking laws. Richardson received the e-mail just as he and his competitors were preparing for the year's busiest wagering season. With pro and college football, pro and college basketball and other sports in full swing, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas about to create plenty of free time, BetCris and the others stood to rake in millions over the holidays. Richardson was even planning an advertising blitz for the season to drive new traffic to his site.

    If BetCris went down, he knew his customers would find another online bookie, "which will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in lost wagers and customers," the extortionists reminded him.

    Despite all that, the e-mail didn't have the fearsome effect on Richardson that the extortionists hoped it would. He just asked his network administrator, Glenn Lebumfacil, if they should be concerned. "I said—God, in hindsight, what an idiot—I said, 'We should be safe. I think our network is nice and tight,'" recalls Lebumfacil.

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