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Europe’s Largest Pirate IPTV Operation Dismantled in the Netherlands

Read also: IT analyst poses as ransomware group to hijack ransom payment, iSpoof founder gets 13 years in prison, and more.

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Views: 8.3k Read Time: 3 min.

Europe’s Largest Pirate IPTV Operation Dismantled in the Netherlands

Dutch police shut down a massive illegal streaming service

Dutch authorities in cooperation with Europol have taken down a massive illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) service used by more than one million people across Europe.

Without disclosing the name of the service, the authorities said the pirate operation was shut down on May 23, 2023, with a series of raids carried out across the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Almere, Enschede, The Hague, and Den Helder.

As a result, business premises and homes were searched, cars, computers, bank accounts and cash were seized and four people were arrested. Data center in Den Helder used by the service’s operators was also shut down.

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IT security analyst convicted for hijacking ransom payment from his employer

A 28-year-old British man was convicted of blackmail and unauthorized access to a computer after he attempted to steal a ransom payment from his employer.

Ashley Liles worked as IT security analyst at an unnamed Oxford-based company that suffered a ransomware incident in February 2018. After his employer was hit with the attack, Liles secretly accessed his boss’ email account and changed the Bitcoin payment address in the original ransom email to one under his control in the hopes that future payment will be made to him. What’s more, posing as the attackers, Liles began emailing his employer to put more pressure on the company.

Eventually, the company’s security team noticed the unauthorized access to the executive’s emails and the following investigation tied this access to Liles’ home address. Ashley Liles pleaded guilty in the UK court, the sentencing is scheduled for July 11, 2023.

Founder of iSpoof scam website gets more than 13 years in prison

Tejay Fletcher, 35, the founder and leading administrator of the website was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison following the largest UK’s fraud sting to date.

Dismantled in November 2022, iSpoof was a service that helped cybercriminals to defraud victims by posing as banks, including Barclays, Santander, or HSBC, tax offices and other official entities.

Using tools provided by iSpoof, threat actors could call unsuspecting bank customers under the guise of genuine employees and trick them into giving out passwords and PIN codes to their bank accounts.

The authorities say that at its peak, the website had 59,000 users, and at one point up to 20 people per minute were being targeted by callers using tools bought from iSpoof. The fraudster site is said to have caused losses exceeding £100 million (€115 million).

The US slaps sanctions on entities linked to North Korean hackers

The US authorities imposed sanctions on four entities and one individual for engaging in malicious activities aimed at raising money for the Kim regime and its weapons programs.

One of the sanctioned entities is Pyongyang University of Automation, a training facility for hackers, many of whom go on to work for North Korea’s intelligence service, Reconnaissance General Bureau. The US Treasury also sanctioned Technical Reconnaissance Bureau and the 110th Research Center, two entities linked to the Lazarus government hackers.

The list of sanctioned organizations also includes the Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company and one of its top managers, Kim Sang Man, responsible for deployment of IT workers who used fake identities to obtain employment with companies in the technology and digital currency industry.

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Four FinFisher execs charged for illegal spyware exports

Prosecutors in Germany have charged four former executives of the now-defunct surveillance software vendor FinFisher with the illegal sale of a commercial spyware tool called ‘FinSpy’ to Turkey's intelligence services. The surveillance software allegedly was used to spy on Turkish opposition.

Germany prohibits the sale of ‘dual-use’ technologies that can be used for espionage and surveillance to countries outside the European Union and requires that companies get approval to sell such products abroad.

The authorities allege that the defendants knowingly violated German export rules by selling FinSpy to Turkey without an export permit from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control.

An investigation into the company was launched in 2019 following multiple media reports and complaints from human rights groups. In March 2022, the company closed down operations and claimed insolvency.

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Key Dutch has been working in information technology and cybersecurity for over 20 years, starting his first job with Windows 95 and dial-up modems. As the Editor-in-Chief of our Cybercrime Prosecution Weekly blog series, he compiles the most interesting news about police operations against cybercrime, as well as about regulatory actions enforcing data protection and privacy law.
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