A Pirate Group Has Been Identified After Using PayPal Accounts to Sell Stolen Content

By Bill Toulas / December 24, 2018

A US Federal Grand Jury case that involves five men who are accused of stealing movies and TV shows and selling them via the Internet has brought up an inexplicable method for the reception of the payments. According to the investigators, the pirates were selling the illegal copies that they had in their possession by using their very own bank and PayPal accounts, making their identities visible and easily verifiable.

The reason why this is puzzling is the fact that these men were adequately tech-savvy and sharp enough to be able to hack into movie production and distribution companies' servers, and getting copies of content that had not been released yet. Obviously, the value of such content is higher, and the risk of the whole process of getting your hands on it and even selling it is quite high. So, when the undercover investigators who unraveled the case claimed that the defendants asked for PayPal payments when approached by them, they were met with a justified surprise.

Going into more details, the investigators claim that the five defendants used a common PayPal account from where they withdrew their share to their own personal PayPal accounts. By monitoring these activities, the investigators could figure out when the transfers took place, and even realize that some of them withdrew large chunks of the payments to their bank accounts. It all adds up to the weirdness, as the pirates couldn’t have possibly assumed that using controlled/monitored and legal payment systems would keep them in the dark for long. Yet, it seems that they did.

Payments were not the only point that missed the caution of the defendants, as one of the servers that were used to store the pirated material was rented from OVH to the real name of one of the defendants. One possible explanation for this “relaxed” approach is that four out of the five pirates are based in locations where copyright infringement isn’t fiercely prosecuted yet, like in Malaysia, India, United Arab Emirates, etc. Only one of the defendants who was a UK resident has been arrested to this date, while the others remain out of the immediate reach of US courts. That said, the trials have not been initiated yet, and the men (or at least the one arrested) have not stated their defense yet. Considering the above, it may be quite hard for them to do so when the time comes.

Do you think the pirates were just careless or have their countries of residence made them reckless? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below, and don’t forget to subscribe on our socials on Facebook and Twitter for more news on tech.

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