Pirate Bay co-founder's prison sentence for hacking lowered to one year on appeal

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg's computer could have been remotely controlled, the court found

The Swedish Svea Court of Appeal has overturned a verdict against Gottfrid Svartholm Warg for intrusion and fraud against Nordea bank, but has upheld the verdict finding him guilty of hacking IT firm Logica.


The Court of Appeal has rejected a District Court's judgment against Svartholm Warg in which he was found guilty of involvement in fraud and intrusion against Nordea. However, it agreed with the District Court that Svartholm Warg should be sentenced for participation in the hack against Logica.

In its verdict, the Court of Appeal made a different assessment than the District Court in regard to the theory that Svartholm Warg's computer may have been remotely controlled during the intrusions. The court put a lot of emphasis on expert witness Jacob Appelbaum, who was a new witness during the appeals trial. Applebaum showed the court that the firewall on Svartholm Warg's computer was configured in such a way that it could have been controlled remotely, via a server written in Python, for example.


The court also found that the police investigation wasn't thorough enough to rule out that the computer was controlled remotely. During the investigation, the police only looked at the possibility of the computer being remotely controlled using Terminal Services and Powershell Server.

In the appeals court, the defense showed a 12-line-long Python script that could have been used to let someone remotely control the computer in question.

But in the case of intrusions against Logica, the Court of Appeal found the evidence sufficient for a conviction, in part based on chat conversations where the court said that Svartholm Warg discussed the intrusions. The court also found that the intrusions occurred over such a long period that it is unlikely they could have been carried out remotely using Svartholm Warg's computer without him noticing it.


The total sentence was reduced from two years to one.

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