Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (Anakata) and his 21-year-old Danish co-defendant have been found guilty by a Danish court of hacking into systems operated by American IT giant CSC and illegally downloading files. It was the biggest hacking case ever conducted in the history of Denmark.
By breaking into the servers maintained by CSC, Svartholm Warg illegally accessed police email accounts and stolen email addresses and passwords of over 10,000 policemen, explored the European border control database, and downloaded millions of social security numbers belonging to Danish citizens. The initial hack attack took place for about six months.
"This is the largest hacking case to date. The crime is very serious, and this must be reflected in the sentence," Prosecutor Maria Cingali said.
Gottfrid Svartholm allegedly committed the crime along with his his 21-year-old co-defendant between February and August 2012. His co-defendant is only known by the alias of "JKT" as the Judge Kari Sørensen, who presided over the case, ordered media outlets not to publish his name in order to protect the man’s privacy.
The defence team argued that although the hack attacks were carried out using a computer owned by Svartholm, but he was not the person that used it to steal the files as, they said, his entire group of developers had access to the computer. So, any one of them could be responsible for the hacking.
"My recommendation has always been that the investigation has focused on finding clues that point to my client, even though the tracks have also pointed in another direction," lawyer Louise Høj said, as cited by TorrentFreak. "It is clear that my client’s computer has been the subject of remote control, and therefore he is not responsible."
However, the court said the unauthorized access to CSC computer mainframes was a "systematic and organised" approach, dismissing the Swede’s claims that his computer system was used by someone else to carry out the hack as "unlikely," the Local reports.
Security expert Jacob Appelbaum, a well-known activist and leading member of the Tor project - an open source and free anonymous browser service, said that it would have been easy for an outsider to gain access to Warg’s computer. He pointed out that Danish authorities had found no forensic evidence and all of the evidence had been provided by CSC.
Appelbaum expressed his disappointment with the conviction on Twitter. "Gottfrid convicted. I'm sad to hear that only two of the jurors understand the technology involved," Appelbaum tweeted yesterday.
Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested in his Cambodian apartment in September 2012 and it took two years before he went on trial in Denmark. In September 2013, he was deported from Cambodia to Sweden where he served a jail term for copyright theft because of his involvement with the Pirate Bay file-sharing site.
In a separate trial in 2013, Warg was sentenced to one year in a Swedish jail for hacking into a bank's computers. Then in November 2013, he was finally extradited to Denmark to face charges in the CSC hacking cases.
Svartholm will be sentenced on 31 October and could face six years in jail. His accomplice walked free from the court on Thursday as he had served 17 months in pre-trial detention.
"The punishment should be close to the maximum punishment, which can be six years in prison," the senior prosecutor in the case, Maria Cingari, said according to local media. "It shouldn’t be under five years."
Since its launch in 2003, The Pirate Bay (TPB) becomes the world's largest torrent tracker site which handles requests from millions of users everyday and is in the top 100 most visited websites on the Internet. TPB is predominantly used to share copyrighted material such as films, TV shows and music files, free of charge. Generally, it is famous for potentially hosting illegal contents on the website.