How the FBI Failed to Shatter the Hacker Subculture “The Scene”

Operation Site Down

The last big bust hit The Scene on June 29, 2005. Apparently, the law enforcement authorities were satisfied with their past strategies so far, because the details of the bust strongly reminded of Operation Buccaneer and Operation Fastlink.

Again, it was a globally coordinated action launched by the FBI. A total of three individually conducted undercover surveys ended with the so-called “Operation Site Down”. For this, the investigators had been able to identify more than 120 sceneries in the USA, Canada, Portugal, France, Belgium, Israel, Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany and Australia. Officials conducted more than 90 raids around the world, arresting numerous people. The list of the released Release Groups was especially long this time. There were the groups RiSCiSO, Myth, The Divine Alcoholics, Legends Never Die, Goodfellaz, HOODLUM, VENGEANCE, Centropy, WastedTime, PARANOiD, Corrupt, Gamerz, AdmitONE, Hellbound, KGS, BLaCKBoX, Kurou Haku Goraku, NOX, Third Party, ConsoleDupeZ, The Underground Network, Bong Hit Productions, and Not For Resale.

How the FBI Infiltrated The Scene

Once again, the FBI had succeeded in infiltrating an agent into The Scene.

He had developed the confidence of The Scene for many months under his cover name “Griffen”. Most recently, he worked as a site op of two servers named CHUD and LAD. Both Top Sites were used as a sign of The Scene, while the FBI recorded all data movements in the background. When the officials had collected enough information, they stormed.

A hard blow for the film releasing and pirating scene was especially the bust of the Release Group Centropy. Many scene members were already worried about a sinking of the stream of new film releases. Finally, Centropy had been unquestionably one of the top groups of The Scene. In the past they continuously have been succeeding to manage to release pirated movies inside The Scene before they were even released by the film industry. However, only one day after the bust Centropy released the film “Herbie: Fully Loaded”. The NFO did not spoil with mockery and pointed the persecutors to the fact that they have not smashed the group yet.

Effects the FBI Bust

And so Operation Site Down could not force The Scene to its knees. Until now, none of these busts conducted by the FBI or other police organizations were able to hinder the work of the Release Groups in the long term.

Although the law enforcement authorities were indeed able to achieve considerable successes – such as condemning members from The Scene to long prison sentences. Also, many members announced their withdrawal by quitting The Scene after larger busts. But these hits usually hit individual members, but never The Scene as a whole, it has grown accustomed to regular busts. They do not seem to have a deterrent effect, as the desire for pirated release appears to be greater than the fear of imprisonment. The Scene members know about the danger and only hope to not belong to the affected ones next time.

Motivational Effects

Often a bust is even motivating for The Scene. Young Release Groups try to fill the resulting gaps and continue the work of the blasted groups.

Others simply see a chance to make a name quickly after the disappearance of successful groups. And even the obligatory resignations of Release Groups are often only short-lived. Many well-known groups announce their comeback after some time, others use the resignation as camouflage, in order to remain faithful to The Scene under a new name.

The prosecutors, on the other hand, report that the activities of The Scene had greatly diminished in after each bust. After a few weeks however, such reports are often seemed to be premature. After a blow, The Scene only takes some time to reorganize and strengthen its security measures. Today, The Scene is still active after more than twenty years despite all police investigations.


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