Europol, along with law enforcement authorities from across the continent, took down a sophisticated cyber crime gang that used a mobile application to illegally stream proprietary video content to more than 100 million users.
Earlier this month, Europol announced that along with the Spanish National Police and law enforcement authorities from Andorra and Portugal, it took down a gang of cyber criminals that distributed illegal video streams in many countries. A mobile application developed by cyber criminals was downloaded and used by approximately 100 million users.
The investigation began in October 2018 after Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Football Association Pretoria, the Premier League, and the Spanish Football League lodged complaints with the Spanish National Police about the application illegally distributing their video content. During the investigation, the authorities identified several connected websites and platforms located in Spain and Portugal as well as servers located in Czechia that were used by the criminals.
A Spanish company that supported the illegal activity earned huge profits through advertisements displayed on the mobile application. “Through the computer infrastructure and power, they were able to sell user information to a company related to botnet and DDoS attacks. Investigators estimate the overall illegal profits at more than €5 million,” Europol said.
The law enforcement crackdown on the criminal operation resulted in the blocking of twenty web domains and servers, the freezing of several bank accounts, the takedown of servers located in Portugal and Czechia, and the arrest of four criminals, three of them from Spain.
The criminal operation described by Europol indicates the scale at which cyber criminals operate in the digital world to rake in millions in profits, often at the cost of the privacy and security of millions. A couple of years ago, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) took down as many as 33,654 fraudulent domains used by fraudsters to sell counterfeit and pirated items online.
The Internet domains seized by law enforcement authorities from across Europe were found selling counterfeit and pirated items such as pharmaceuticals, pirated films, television shows, music, software, electronics, and other bogus products ahead of the Christmas shopping season.