TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: NYT Article on Cyberextortion Including Ricin and Grenades

NYT Article on Cyberextortion Including Ricin and Grenades

Danny Burstein (
Sun, 7 Aug 2005 01:15:51 -0400

" August 7, 2005 The Rise of the Digital Thugs By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN

" Early last year, the corporate stalker made his move. He sent more
than a dozen menacing e-mail messages to Daniel I. Videtto, the
president of MicroPatent, a patent and trademarking firm, threatening
to derail its operations unless he was paid $17 million.

" In a pair of missives fired off on Feb. 3, 2004, the stalker said
that he had thousands of proprietary MicroPatent documents,
confidential customer data, computer passwords and e-mail

" Unbeknownst to the stalker, MicroPatent had been quietly trying to
track him for years, though without success. He was able to mask his
online identity so deftly that he routinely avoided capture, despite
the involvement of federal investigators.

" But in late 2003 the company upped the ante. It retained private
investigators and deployed a former psychological profiler for the
Central Intelligence Agency to put a face on the stalker. The manhunt,
according to court documents and investigators, led last year to a
suburban home in Hyattsville, Md., its basement stocked with parts for
makeshift hand grenades and ingredients for ricin, one of the most
potent and lethal biological toxins.

" Last March, on the same day that they raided his home, the
authorities arrested the stalker as he sat in his car composing e-mail
messages he planned to send wirelessly to Mr. Videtto. The stalker has
since pleaded guilty to charges of extortion and possession of toxic

[ snippety snip, rest at:

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The NY Times article did not note
however, whether or not some snippity, uppity Usenetters were
'horrified' that the company had drilled down deep enough to find
the _actual offender_ and afford him some severe punishment rather
than just -- as they would prefer -- the guy's messages had just
been filtered out, perhaps ineffectually, as filters go, but the
preferred (by some who are quite vocal) way to deal with offenders.
It is _good_ to see some of these bozos get caught and severely
dealt with. PAT]

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