Hungarian authorities disbanded an internet-based criminal organisation with country-wide ties. The high volume of illegal content seized proves the wide magnitude of the operation.
Illegal activities involved the use of ‘smswarez’ - an internet slang expression referring to the unlawful sale of copyright-protected content in return for payment through SMS; ‘smswebs’ – which is a web page from which copyright-protected content can be downloaded in return for payment via SMS; and torrents – a p2p downloading technique. The main feature of this system is that the higher is the number of users sharing a file, the easier and faster is to download it.
Criminal activities started in 2002 and evidence shows that the group had a well-structured organization in 2006. The organization had at least 30 membersand its purpose was to make profits out of the unlawful trade of copyright-protected content. The head of the criminal organisation was [B]. The other conspirators reported to him. [A] was responsible for the “sms” system. He developed the core of all the programmes by order of [B]. He also replaced [B] in the server rooms of the offices of the criminal organisation. [G] sent out SPAM messages. According to his statement he sent out 16-20 million SPAM messages.
The organization ran several server rooms,storing legal and illegal content. Some of the rooms were not declared to the competent authorities.
The illegal data stored in the server rooms was used to send out links to illegal web pages, spam messages, lists of e-mails, domain registration.
[H] and [I] were in charge of technical support and operated the servers. The server rooms were registered as usef for internet hosting purposes in order to cover their illegal activities. organization declared that the purpose of the server rooms server-hosting activity. [J] was in charge domain registration.
According to the information gathered by law enforcement, the criminal organization laundered 761.000.000 HUF between 2007 and 2009. [B] used different kinds of punishment for the employees who did not abide by his instructions.
5 cars and high-tech instruments (servers, laptops, etc.).
Law enforcement searched 5 server rooms in April 2009. Law enforcement seized 43 servers (approximate size: 200-250 terabyte). Further 5 servers were seized at a later stage.
High-tech devices were examined with analytical software, such as FTK and Encase.
The investigation revealed that [B] was engaged in money laundering and was assisted by [E] and other Ukrainian nationals. Among the conspirators were also an accountant and a lawyer. The laundered money was transferred through bogus companies and then withdrew from ATM-machines by the conspirators.
Hungarian authorities sent a request to Romanian authorities via INTERPOL channels in order to obtain information on the death of the leader of the criminal organisation, [B]. Romanian authorities provided the requested information.
Prosecutors are still working on the case, no proposal for accusation has been issued as of yet.
Leader of the criminal organisation