A disgruntled former Sky employee tried to blackmail the broadcaster for more than £40,000 worth of Bitcoin after he was sacked.
Imoudu Chaba, 37, worked as a customer service representative at the company from 2011 to 2015, but he later tried to extort £44,286 by hacking a former colleague's hard-drive to steal customer details.
He then threatened to post the sensitive data containing names and addresses on the dark web, where criminals trawl for potential fraud victims.
Chaba, from Baguley, Manchester, pleaded guilty at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to four counts of blackmail and he was sentenced to two years and four months in prison on Wednesday.
Chaba sent an anonymous letter to a senior member of staff in January 2018 outlining his demands.
The letter claimed that he had seized over one million customer records from a company database and threatened to publish them on the dark web unless he was paid within the month.
He stated he took the records after a manager left their computer unlocked and unattended.
Chaba demanded the money on the basis that he had been unfairly dismissed in 2015.
The cryptocurrency wallet he instructed to send the money to was set up using an email address that began with ‘cjack8102’, police said.
In October 2019, detectives became aware of an individual who was using the alias ‘CJACK8102’ on the dark web, leading them to link the email address and username to Chaba.
When raiding Chaba’s house, officers found a USB stick with a spreadsheet of names and addresses of 11,400 customers, and a copy of the letter given to the senior member of staff.
They also found six other letters addressed to customers from the spreadsheet on his laptop.
Each one stated that there had been a data breach at the company and demanded £500 to stop their personal details being leaked further.
In total, Chaba attempted to blackmail a total of £47,286 out of staff and customers.
Detective Constable Daniel Dankoff, from the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said: “Chaba executed a shameless plot for his own financial gain.
"When his attempts to blackmail a senior member of staff proved unsuccessful, he began to target customers to exert pressure on the company.
“While Chaba used a variety of software to conceal his identity, this sentencing sends a clear message that we have the ability and tools to find criminals and stop their illicit activity.”