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CEO of Financial Services Company Markit Sues Unknown Hackers for Extortion

Lance Uggla says unknown individuals have claimed to be tracking his email and have access to his phone.

The chief executive of London-based global financial services company Markit Ltd. filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing unknown individuals of hacking into his computers, phone and emails to try to intimidate him and extort money.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Lance Uggla, the CEO and founder of the financial information service provider, said hackers had been engaging in an "anonymous campaign of extortion." Uggla said unknown individuals had claimed to be tracking his email; have said they have "unprecedented access" to his phone; and have threatened cyberattacks on the email addresses of New York-based employees of his company.

Neither Markit nor a lawyer for Uggla responded to requests for comment.

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The lawsuit could provide Uggla's lawyers the ability to use subpoenas to seek out the identities of the hackers.

According to the lawsuit, on Nov. 17, an anonymous Twitter account was used to contact Uggla and intimidate him and his company through public tweets. Eight days later, Uggla received an anonymous email seeking a ransom to stop a hacking campaign that involved the disclosure of private information about the executive, his family, and his financial interests, the lawsuit said.

In the email, the anonymous individuals, named as unknown "Doe" defendants in the complaint, said they had hacked his computer, server and email for over three months and were tracking his email. The defendants later informed Uggla they had hacked his phone, and in subsequent emails said they were tracking his movements and threatened cyberattacks on employee email addresses.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction blocking the defendants from further violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.