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Why Daybreak Games' CEO went ballistic on the Finnish hacker trying to ruin his life

Daybreak Games CEO John Smedley took to Reddit last night to explain why he's disappointed with the sentence Finnish authorities handed down to Julius "zeekill" Kivimaki, a 17-year-old-member of the Lizard Squad hacking group who targeted the outspoken company head.

The upshot: We barely know the extent of the attacks Smedley has endured.

Kivimaki was convicted of 50,700 cybercrime-related charges and received a two-year suspended prison sentence. According to Smedley, the Finnish teen is "the guy that brought down my flight with a bomb threat" in August 2014.

"I've heard the entire recording where he convinced an airline customer service agent there was a bomb on the plane," Smedley wrote. "He also in conjunction with others has sent me pictures of my father's grave with nasty stuff on it. I've had my entire credit history put out on the internet including my SSN and my [family's] info. We've had multiple social networks and other things hacked and had my family members called."

That isn't all.

"I've also been swatted (multiple times) and had over 50 false credit applications submitted in my name and had to deal with the ramifications of what happens to your credit when this kind of thing happens. It's not good. And to top it all off they decided to submit false tax returns."

Kivimaki's malfeasance doesn't stop at Smedley, according to the CEO.

"He's been involved for years in every kind of terrible thing you can imagine including Carding, hacking, swatting people all over the world," he wrote on Reddit. "He's also participated in a major way in DDOS attacks that caused a lot of grief for gamers and a lot of economic damage to the companies that make and run games."

After Kivimaki's sentence became public, Smedley took to Twitter. The outspoken CEO threatened legal action against the convicted hacker, who he called a "little dirtbag," as well as his family. Smedley's vociferous reaction confused some readers with its severity. That's one reason he explained and reiterated his position in longer form on Reddit.

"So you guys can debate this," he wrote, "and that's all well and good, but meanwhile this shit is real to my life and my family's life and I'm sure as hell not lying down for it for a second. I've been working with law enforcement to put him and others into jail where they belong. Some of them are minors which makes it tough. Most of them are outside the US, which makes it tougher. But I'm patient and I'm going to be relentless about this."

At about the same time Smedley was writing on Reddit, Lizard Squad began tweeting about attacks on Daybreak Games' titles.

Lizard Squad and its mysterious members have taken credit for several infamous hacks, including those that crippled PlayStation Network and Xbox Live last Christmas. This week, it took oblique credit for the Daybreak hacks and drew a direct link to Kivimaki.

For two decades, Daybreak Game Company was a Sony subsidiary. But last February, Sony Online Entertainment went independent and became Daybreak Games, continuing to make titles like H1Z1, PlanetSide 2 and more. You can learn more about Daybreak's path to independence in Polygon's feature story.

How Daybreak Games brought PlanetSide 2 to PS4 (and where it's going next)

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