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Danish court finds Pirate Bay cofounder guilty of hacking CSC servers

Jury doesn't buy 'evil hackers pwned my computer' defense

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, cofounder of the Pirate Bay, has been found guilty of hacking charges by a court in Denmark, which ruled that he and a 21-year-old accomplice had hacked US technology company CSC to gain access to Danish government servers.

"We welcome the decision of the court, and the trial clearly demonstrated the criminal intend of the hackers," CSC told The Register in a statement.

The court heard that Warg and his accomplice – who was granted anonymity by the court –hacked into servers CSC was hosting for European government organizations between February and August of 2012. Once in, the duo accessed police email accounts, explored the European border control database, and downloaded millions of social security numbers belonging to Danish citizens.

The case, described by prosecutor Maria Cingari as the largest hacking prosecution in Denmark's history, was made possible after Warg was extradited from Sweden to face trial after serving time on hacking charges. Warg and his accomplice were found guilty by a two-thirds jury majority and by all three presiding judges.

Warg's attorney argued that the computer used in the offenses could have been compromised and used by other hackers to carry out the attacks. Warg said that other developers had access to the machine, but declined to name names.

Technical experts were called in to explain how this was possible to the judges and jury. Security expert Jacob Applebaum pointed out that Danish authorities had found no forensic evidence and all of the evidence had been provided by CSC. He also said the prosecutors were clueless about technology matters.

The court called this scenario "unlikely," The Local reports, and ruled that the CSC servers had been hacked in a "systematic and organised character." Warg faces sentencing on Friday and the prosecution has called for a six-year sentence.

"Past practice is no help in determining the sentence, as there are no precedents," Cingari stated. "This is the largest hacking case to date. The crime is very serious, and this must be reflected in the sentence." She also called for him to be barred from Danish soil

In contrast, Warg's lawyer Louise Høj argued that a one year sentence would be much more equitable, considering the facts of the case. If Høj's request were granted, Warg would probably be released immediately on time served.

"This case is not the worst case one can imagine, as Maria Cingari claims. Not at all," she argued. "It would be different if the hacking had been carried out for financial gain. If the information had been sold, or if the records had been deleted." ®

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