A convicted hacker who sold stolen Netflix and Spotify subscriptions has been ordered to forfeit more than $1.66 million in cryptocurrency and cash to the Commonwealth.
The 23-year-old Sydney man allegedly conspired with a man in the United States to steal the log-ins and passwords of streaming service customers and then sold them online at a cheaper rate.
The FBI and Australian Federal Police launched the investigation in 2018 after coming across an account generator website called WickedGen.com.
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According to police, WickedGen operated for about two years selling stolen account details for online subscription services, including Netflix, Spotify and Hulu.
The account details belonged to unknowing victims in Australia and internationally, including the US.
During the investigation, the AFP also uncovered a further three ‘account generator’ websites including HyperGen, Autoflix, and AccountBot all created and operated by the man.
“It is alleged AccountBot offered a paid subscription service to customers who could obtain account credentials to streaming services at a cheaper rate,” the AFP said.
Across the four subscription services, the man had at least 152,863 registered users and provided at least 85,925 subscriptions to illegally access legitimate streaming services.
The man, who pleaded guilty to various criminal offences in October 2020, claimed he had made between $500,000 to $1 million from operating the websites.
He was handed a two year and two months’ sentence to be served by an intensive corrections order and was last week ordered by the Supreme Court of NSW to forefeit $1.66 million to the Commonwealth Confiscated Assets Account.
The AFP says the funds will be redistributed by Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews to support crime prevention, law enforcement and community-safety related initiatives.
“Good work by the AFP has seen a criminal stripped of their ill-gotten gains, and this money redirected to enhancing the safety and security of communities right around Australia,” Minister Andrews said.
“I will continue to fund projects and initiatives that make it harder for criminals to prey on Australians, by using proceeds of crime that are seized from criminals themselves.”