UK spammer jailed for six years


UK spammer jailed for six years

Antony Savvas

A UK spammer has been jailed for six years for defrauding up to £1.6m out of businesses and individuals.

Peter Francis-Macrae, 23, of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, was jailed at Peterborough Crown Court this week after being found guilty of fraudulent trading, threatening to destroy or damage property, making threats to kill, and blackmail.

In a six-week trial, the court heard how Francis-Macrae had tricked thousands of businesses into sending him money to register a dot-eu domain name on their behalf.

He sent fraudulent e-mails to companies claiming they had to pay a renewal fee to avoid losing their existing domain names.

Businesses which complained said Francis-Macrae bombarded them with a glut of further e-mails, and police and trading standards officers who investigated were threatened with petrol-bombing, the court was told.

Francis-Macrae, who denied the charges, ran the scam from his bedroom at his father's house. He was arrested after threatening Nominet UK, the registry that controls the dot-uk domain.

After Nominet warned businesses not to fall for the bogus invoices, Francis-Macrae threatened the organisation’s systems with a botnet attack consisting of 200,000 “zombie” computers.

Zombies or “bots” are computers infected by malicious code by remote attackers without their owners knowing, and can be used in co-ordinated attacks to crash other systems.

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