U.S. Law Enforcement Assists Brazilian Law Enforcement Takedown of Numerous Digital Piracy Sites and Apps Alleged to Have Caused Millions of Dollars in Losses to U.S. Media Companies

Three U.S.-Based Websites Allegedly Offered Thousands of Pirated Television Shows and Movies Owned by U.S. Rights Holders to Brazilian Audiences

Seizure warrants have been executed against three domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works in support of a Brazilian-led takedown of digital piracy sites there, dubbed “Operation 404”.

The coordinated federal law enforcement operation targeted online services that provided illegal copies of copyrighted works, including television shows and movies.

“By seizing these domain names, law enforcement has disrupted the unlawful reproduction and distribution of thousands of pirated television shows and movies, while also cutting off the profits to unlawful actors willing to exploit the hard work of others for their own personal gain,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Justice Department, together with our international law enforcement partners, will continue to take enforcement actions to identify, seize, and disable these sites wherever they exist around the globe.”

“Illegal streaming is not a victimless crime,” said Derek Benner, Executive Associate Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  “It harms the content creators of the shows that you know and love, and feeds a criminal enterprise whose profits support organized criminal endeavors.  Now more than ever, the partnerships between the creative industry and law enforcement agencies are essential to combat digital piracy and protect consumers. The collaborative nature of this investigation is representative of the ongoing work HSI conducts with its international law enforcement partners to proactively identify, target and investigate individuals who violate U.S. intellectual property rights laws.”

According to the affidavit in support of the seizure warrants, each of the three domains—megatorrentshd.biz, comandotorrentshd.tv, and bludv.tv—offered “free access to copyrighted content to website visitors all over the world, including released and pre-release feature-length movies and television shows.” Megatorrentshd.biz featured approximately 84 navigation pages, with 20 film titles per page and approximately 21 navigation pages with approximately 16 television series titles per page. Comandotorrentshd.tv offered movies and television shows, with approximately 10 titles per page, distributed throughout approximately 124 navigation pages. Bludv.tv displayed approximately 670 navigation pages with approximately 14 titles per page.

Operation 404 was coordinated with Brazil’s Secretariat of Integrated Operations (SEOPI) at Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MoJPS). More information about the operation is available here.

The seized domains are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime.

The Justice Department thanks its Brazilian partners at SEOPI and the MoJPS, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, and its domestic partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, HSI’s Washington D.C. field office and ICE HSI Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, for its assistance and collaboration in this matter.

The Justice Department is working to provide intellectual property related training and technical assistance in other countries through the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program. Learn more about the Criminal Division’s ICHIP Program, jointly administered by the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, here.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, and coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Figure 1: Key Systems Connections to Commercial Airplanes The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established a process for the certification and oversight of all US commercial airplanes, including the operation of commercial air carriers (see fig. 2). While FAA recognizes avionics cybersecurity as a potential safety issue for modern commercial airplanes, it has not fully implemented key practices that are necessary to carry out a risk-based cybersecurity oversight program. Specifically, FAA has not (1) assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, (2) developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, (3) issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or (4) included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process. Until FAA strengthens its oversight program, based on assessed risks, it may not be able to ensure it is providing sufficient oversight to guard against evolving cybersecurity risks facing avionics systems in commercial airplanes. Figure 2: Federal Aviation Administration's Certification Process for Commercial Transport Airplanes GAO has previously identified key practices for interagency collaboration that can be used to assess interagency coordination. FAA coordinates with other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS), and with industry to address aviation cybersecurity issues. For example, FAA co-chairs the Aviation Cyber Initiative, a tri-agency forum with DOD and DHS to address cyber risks across the aviation ecosystem. However, FAA's internal coordination activities do not fully reflect GAO's key collaboration practices. FAA has not established a tracking mechanism for monitoring progress on cybersecurity issues that are raised in coordination meetings, and its oversight coordination activities are not supported by dedicated resources within the agency's budget. Until FAA establishes a tracking mechanism for cybersecurity issues, it may be unable to ensure that all issues are appropriately addressed and resolved. Further, until it conducts an avionics cybersecurity risk assessment, it will not be able to effectively prioritize and dedicate resources to ensure that avionics cybersecurity risks are addressed in its oversight program. Avionics systems, which provide weather information, positioning data, and communications, are critical to the safe operation of an airplane. FAA is responsible for overseeing the safety of commercial aviation, including avionics systems. The growing connectivity between airplanes and these systems may present increasing opportunities for cyberattacks on commercial airplanes. GAO was asked to review the FAA's oversight of avionics cybersecurity issues. The objectives of this review were to (1) describe key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems and their potential effects, (2) determine the extent to which FAA oversees the implementation of cybersecurity controls that address identified risks in avionics systems, and (3) assess the extent to which FAA coordinates internally and with other government and industry entities to identify and address cybersecurity risks to avionics systems. To do so, GAO reviewed information on key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems, as reported by major industry representatives as well as key elements of an effective oversight program, and compared FAA's process for overseeing the implementation of cybersecurity controls in avionics systems with these program elements. GAO also reviewed agency documentation and interviewed agency and industry representatives to assess FAA's coordination efforts to address the identified risks. GAO is making six recommendations to FAA to strengthen its avionics cybersecurity oversight program: GAO recommends that FAA conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment of avionics systems cybersecurity within its oversight program to identify the relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks. Based on the assessment of avionics cybersecurity risks, GAO recommends that FAA identify staffing and training needs for agency inspectors specific to avionics cybersecurity, and develop and implement appropriate training to address identified needs. develop and implement guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs that includes independent testing. review and consider revising its policies and procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet to include developing procedures for safely conducting independent testing. ensure that avionics cybersecurity issues are appropriately tracked and resolved when coordinating among internal stakeholders. review and consider the extent to which oversight resources should be committed to avionics cybersecurity. FAA concurred with five out of six GAO recommendations. FAA did not concur with the recommendation to consider revising its policies and procedures for periodic independent testing. GAO clarified this recommendation to emphasize that FAA safely conduct such testing as part of its ongoing monitoring of airplane safety. For more information, contact Nick Marinos at (202) 512-9342 or MarinosN@gao.gov, or Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or KrauseH@gao.gov.
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