He is also the one who restored singer Vicky from ‘Mastilo’ Instagram
‘’People reach out to us for support, the feeling that you have been useful and someone is sleeping peacefully today is amazing and feeds more than any salary. These are the words of Inspector Alexander Velev, who was awarded a few days ago for successful actions against cable pirates. Busy at work, he has just seen Vicki from Ink thank him for helping her after her Instagram account was hacked a month ago. Thanks to the police officer from the “Cybercrime” department at the GDBOP, the singer Viktoria Terziyska got it back.
She got caught by a fake email that Instagram wanted to verify her profile. Therefore, she entered her username and password in the social network. So she sent the data to Turkish hackers, who took over her account. Vicky panicked, but thanks to Velev, after only 2 days, everything was fine. She is just one of many that Velev and his colleagues in the Cybercrime Department have helped.
The 27-year-old policeman has been working in the Ministry of the Interior for exactly 4 years. He is a graduate of the academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and after its completion – on November 1, 2018, he went to the “Illegal content on the Internet” sector of the “Cybercrime” department.
It seemed more of a challenge because it’s something new. This is an area where knowledge from different fields must be used. The exponential development of technology requires constant updating of our skills, the policeman explains why he chose this field of development. It helped him a lot that he graduated from a mathematics high school in his native Blagoevgrad.
Days before it was 4 years since he was in GDBOP, it was Velev who was presented with the award of the Alliance for Combating Audio-Visual Piracy (AARA). The prize went to the team of the “Cybercrime” department, which led a battle with illegal IPTV. Velev himself is the head of operational activities in the European multidisciplinary platform for countering criminal threats. It is responsible for countering intellectual property crimes and counterfeit goods. Thus, with every action in the EU related to illegal television, he coordinates it – if such an operation takes place in Spain, Velev receives a report on the results.
He himself participated in many such operations in our country. At one of them out of 8 addresses, a legal internet provider was also providing illegal TV to its users. The investment of the pirates was not great. About BGN 300 for a satellite dish from which they can receive over 700 channels. The monthly fee is BGN 50. After receiving the signal, they amplified it and sent it to their subscribers. They charged him BGN 10-12 per month. In addition to their own customers, the fraudsters sent it to 3 more legal Internet operators. Thus, the 4 operators delivered illegal television to about 5,000 customers. They did not know that the signal was illegal. In addition to damaging television copyrights, the pirates have also stolen the proceeds of their criminal activities. Separately, they also lied about the number of subscribers and thus saved taxes.
During an action in Petrich, more than 200 servers located in the territory of the EU were stopped. They belonged to Greeks who started illegal TV and streaming platforms in our country, in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Investigators also hit the group’s money, suspending more than 150 PayPal accounts where the pirates received the fee payments. Since 2015, when they started, they have so far raised over 6.5 million euros. The Greeks provided pay-viewing services similar to those offered by Sky Italia, Mediaset Premium, Netflix, Dazon and Infinity in various Member States and third countries.
They got the latest software for such broadcasting and even constantly updated it. They also launched several relay stations with special servers to disable the decryption of the original programs and generate the illegal IPTV signal in violation of the Intellectual Property Law. The group offered a very wide catalog in terms of content, and there was an option to add on request at a very low price. The profits were then transferred to foreign bank accounts.
Velev opens international training on combating pirated television. It was held in Sofia.
And although today Velev and the Cybercrime Department are rewarded, he remembers the reaction of people in cities where cable pirates were caught.
There were protests against us, people were furious that we stopped their TV, says the cyber policeman. And he points out that the construction of such a network does not require a large investment, and the profits are large. Damages – also.
The first is for the economy, copyright holders are also harmed, taxes are hidden, and sometimes profits are disputed, Velev explains. He adds that the user himself does not receive quality service. The signal is not good, the picture is often more blurry. And there were also cases of fraud – because of a fee of BGN 10 per month, people paid each other for a whole year. Already in the second month, the service disappeared. And the users had no contracts and no way to prove
that they are a victim of fraud.
Due to the experience gained, in June of this year, Velev and his colleagues also organized a training on combating illegal streaming, in which representatives from 17 European countries, Europol and Interpol participated. It was recalled by Sheila Cassels – executive vice president of AAPA, when in Rome she awarded Velev and the “Cybercrime” department. The policeman says that the trainings help him a lot – he went to a lot of them, reads specialized literature in his spare time.
Then he indulges in another passion – playing the guitar. He caught fire as a child, by accident. In 2008, when he was 13, a game was held. The winners received tickets to the concert of the thrash metal legislators “Metallica”. Velev participated and won. It was a great coincidence that just as my uncle was bragging about buying a ticket, I won one. So I went to the concert with him, recalls the inspector. Since then he has been a fan of heavy music.
In addition to the guitar, since his school years, Velev had another passion – acting.
He participated in the troupe of a theater in Blagoevgrad, but in recent years he abandoned this hobby. He likes the films of the Danish director Lars Von Trier. He is known for rejecting the modern in cinema, preferring the emphasis to be not on effects, but plot and acting. This is exactly what Velev likes.
And as much as he likes the director, he has blocked illegal sites where his films are uploaded. He also participated in operations against pirate sites offering books online. He also worked against pedophiles who distribute child porn. Every year, he and his colleagues catch between 30 and 50 people who commit such a crime.
And the award from AARA is far from the first in his short career. There are those from GDBOP, from the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and others. In 2019, he and his colleagues were also honored by the then Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. They were awarded for the action in which they revealed that Kristiyan Boykov and his colleagues from the cyber security company “TAD Group” were behind the hacking of the NRA and the leakage of the data of 5 million Bulgarians.