FBI swoop on software piracy gang

By Derek Sooman on February 5, 2006, 3:17 AM
The FBI has indicted 19 members of an international piracy gang thought to have cracked software, games and films worth millions. FBI agents said the gang members frequently worked within the computer industry and seemed to have engaged in cracking the protection mechanisms purely for the intellectual challenge. It does not appear that the gang was making any money from its activities.

The indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago against 19 members of the underground piracy group known as "RISCISO," led by Sean O'Toole, 26, of Perth, Australia.

Another member of the group implicated in the FBI's investigation, dubbed "Operation Jolly Roger," was Linda Waldron, 57, of Barbados. Extradition will be sought for both.

There were as many as 60 members of the group, who used tightly controlled computer servers that contained stolen merchandise that was valued at $6.5 million.

User Comments: 16

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Need_a_Dell said:
Is it just me, or have the various governments gone crazy over the piracy game lately? This is obviously an outraged attempt to deter future pirates and current ones to stop their activities. I believe this is the first time that I've heard of an internet release group being targeted. This was definitely a good move on the government's behalf, seeing as over half of the good stuff on the net comes from release groups such as RISCISO. I don't think that this group of individuals will be hit as hard as they should because they were cracking the protection purely for the challenge. There was no self-oriented money making scheme involved. With a bust this big, it will undoubtedly slow the relentless additions to online files from release groups.
MonkeyMan said:
Man, piracy is becoming a major issue in the world of politics these days. I think mainly, because of the crackdown on terrorist organizations, and the ability for them to hack into major security systems. Well, they will be punished for their misdeeds, and they should be given the maximum punishment.
JMMD said:
I'd like to know how much money is behind these crackdowns. Is the MPAA, RIAA, and SPA all behind this or does the government just use these arrests to prove they can accomplish something.Did they decide that the war on drugs and terror is un-winable so they are going after music and software pirates.
blue_dragon said:
[b]Originally posted by MonkeyMan:[/b][quote]Man, piracy is becoming a major issue in the world of politics these days. I think mainly, because of the crackdown on terrorist organizations, and the ability for them to hack into major security systems. Well, they will be punished for their misdeeds, and they should be given the maximum punishment.[/quote]the maximum punishment...to me its the death sentence..okwhat if they legally obtained the software..if they modify is another thing...if it was their license they should have the right to do anything to it but not spread it..that like me buying a new BMW but i cant change the rims...bummer
Jmag034 said:
I agree with blue dragon and monkey man. Maybe we should focus on world hunger, instead of arresting a few kids that want to save a few bucks..its not like anyone is going broke
DragonMaster said:
[quote]the maximum punishment...to me its the death sentence..ok [/quote]Still exists?[quote]Maybe we should focus on world hunger, instead of arresting a few kids that want to save a few bucks..its not like anyone is going broke[/quote]Do you ever think that they're going to do that? They're ready to save every single bucks they can... for no reason! --Capitalism rulez! (Joking if you haven't noticed)
otmakus said:
This means cracked .exe for games which require putting cds in cd roms will be much harder to find in the internet. But I've never heard of RISCISO before, it must be one of the not so well known group. I'm sorry for them, I hope they can avoid getting extradited to the US.
nathanskywalker said:
Wow, i agree, the gov is really cracking down, and hard. And while it is sad that people are having to go to jail for this, unfortently, it is a good thing that the gov is doing something. Pirating=stealing, and that is the governments responsibility, so at least they are trying to do something.
crossfire851 said:
I'm glad they got cought. It just shows you can't get away with anything in this day and age.
crossfire851 said:
I'm glad they got caught. It just shows you can't get away with anything in this day and age.
defendant said:
[b]Originally posted by otmakus:[/b][quote]But I've never heard of RISCISO before[/quote]RiSCiSO had been a major iSO couriering and release group at one time, back in the 90s. They used many other names to release under. The library in question was built for their retirement benefits package ;) These were the leaders of many many other more well known groups. It's leaders shaped the scene, created the rules of release, and watched as corrupt script kiddies ran rampant until there was nothing to do but retire. Unfortunately they had a traitor inside entrapping them for 2 years, informaing on them to the feds. They call him a "CW" a cooperating witness... I saw that in another post...his nickname was traderz. sounds alot like traitors eh?
AeonXX said:
I have a somewhat divided opinion on this, for one thing, they should be punished just for aiding piracy. But, on the other hand, they werenít doing this for profit or to destroy the profits of others, so they should not be punished to the maximum extent. Iíve personally never heard of this group, but it does not surprise me, as organizations such as these have to maintain their secrecy through various means. Like mentioned earlier in the comments, this is probably an attack made purely to deter similar activities. No one is safe from the government, not even the do-gooders.
Cartz said:
There may not have been any direct financial gain on the behalf of the cracking group, but I find that irrelevant. They should be punished based on the amount of damage done, as every other crime is punished. In this case, they did a large amount of damage to many software companies, and probably assisted in tanking a few really good independent development firms.Not to mention their activities more then likely contributed to the high prices of games, as companies had to make enough money off each sale to cover for the 2 copies that were pirated at the same time.Hopefully this results in lower game prices, and steers companies away from adopting crapware like starforce. I'm all for punishing these people for the full amount of damage they've done to the gaming community.
Race said:
I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for these guys. With a greater emphasis being put on piracy in general, RISCISO should have, and probably did, know the risks and consequences of their actions.Since this was being done on a massive scale, and going un-checked, how long might it have been before the group turned to profiting from this? I'm not saying they would have, but the potential to make millions of dollars will do that.RISCISO was rolling the dice, and if it turns out that they are made an example of to deter others, maybe it will.Having said that, I would think the US Attorneys Office will consider the circumstances surrounding of the piracy.
Eko said:
What you cannot understand is that Big Brother is starting to involve everywhere. And if you only crack just for fun some appz and games, you'll have to get life for that? Anyone who sais that they should get maximum punishment for that is not considering truly what they are saying. I think that such allegations should first be analized and not spreaded just like that. How can you expect anyone to get to prison for cracking some protections? Some of you really have a low IQ...I'm sorry to say that even this means that I will no longer be a member of this site, I totally support the groups from the underground scene.
pepperspy said:
Software pirating groups like these are doing something that should be appreciated by everyone and not scorned. They're providing alternative means of education for people that have no money. What do you think the world would be like in 20 years if there were no pirated software available? Kids that grew up poor would be digging trenches and rich kids will be making money because they were the only ones that could afford to learn photoshop!!! If a family in this world doesnt own a computer what do you think their kids are going to be doing 10 years from now? Same with music. The best thing that could ever happen to this world is for all the record labels to go bankrupt. Maybe then we can finally start hearing some good music instead of having prepackaged crap shoved down our throats. I'm not saying pirating should be legal but get real. It's not something people should be going to prison for unless they're stealing to resell. BYW, all you people that are bitching about piracy you should be aware that in many cases the software you paid for runs slower and lags because of all the protection devices. Paying customers are actually beginning to use cracked software just so they can get a decent program.
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