Hackers charged with stealing over $100m in US army and Xbox technology

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by djbubba2002, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. djbubba2002

    djbubba2002 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Feb 10, 2007
    Involving soniciso and rat superdae from aussie that turned in the ones living in usa, involved in selling early xbox one devkits on ebay and assemblergames.

    Indictment unsealed on Tuesday reveals Department of Justice charged four people in international computer hacking ring

    Four men have been charged with breaking into the computer systems of Microsoft, the US army and leading games manufacturers, as part of an alleged international hacking ring that netted more than $100m in intellectual property, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

    The four, aged between 18 and 28, are alleged to have stolen Xbox technology, Apache helicopter training software and pre-release copies of games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, according to an indictment dating from April that was unsealed on Tuesday.
    Two of the hackers pleaded guilty earlier in the day, the DoJ said.

    “These were extremely sophisticated hackers ... Don’t be fooled by their ages,” assistant US attorney Ed McAndrew said after a court hearing on Tuesday.

    According to prosecutors, the defendants stole intellectual property and other proprietary data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system, and pre-release copies of popular video games. The Department of Justice (DoJ) claimed the technology was worth between $100m and $200m, a figure hotly disputed by one of those facing charges.

    The four charged in the US were named as Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; and Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana. The DoJ also said a man faces charges in Australia in connection with the same allegations. It did not name him in the announcement, but he was identified by Australian media earlier this year as Dylan Wheeler, 19, from Perth.

    Pokora and Nesheiwat each pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement. They face up to five years in prison when sentenced in January.

    The four in the US had been jointly charged with with conspiracies to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets. They were also individually charged with individual counts of aggravated identity theft, unauthorised computer access, copyright infringement and wire fraud. The charges were based on a federal grand jury indictment returned in April.

    The hackers are alleged to have accessed the computer system of Zombie Studios, which allowed them to access a Apache helicopter training simulation program that the company had developed for the US army.

    Other targets of the alleged hacks included Microsoft, and game companies Epic Games and Valve, the DoJ announced. It said the US has seized $620,000 in proceeds “related to the charged conduct”.

    “As the indictment charges, the members of this international hacking ring stole trade secret data used in high-tech American products, ranging from software that trains US soldiers to fly Apache helicopters to Xbox games that entertain millions around the world,” said assistant US attorney General Caldwell.

    McAndrew said FBI officials in Delaware were alerted to the hacking operation in January 2011 by a confidential informant, and that the gaming companies cooperated in the investigation.

    Authorities began obtaining arrest warrants last year, and Pokora, who McAndrew said was looked to by other group members as a leader, was taken into custody in March at a border crossing in Lewiston, New York.

    A copy of part of the sealed indictment, obtained by thesmokinggun.com in April, detailed the charges against three of the four alleged hackers: Leroux, Nesheiwat and Pokora. Alcala was not mentioned in the leaked document.

    Pokora’s plea is believed to be the first conviction of a foreign-based individual for hacking into US businesses to steal trade secret information, authorities said.

    The DoJ also said that “an Australian citizen has been charged under Australian law for his alleged role in the conspiracy”. It did not name Wheeler, who attracted attention in 2012 when he listed a home-made development prototype of the Xbox One, which at the time was still in development by Microsoft, on eBay. He was 17 at the time.

    Wheeler is currently on bail awaiting trial for charges relating to these allegations. which he denies. He told the Guardian that he disputes the DoJ’s estimated value of the alleged thefts - $100m to $200m - as “meaningless”. He also said that the $620,000 seized was from an act of theft by a single hacker in an “extremely disorganised group.”

    “Apart from that, the group made nothing,” he said. “It was just curiosity.

    Source http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/30/four-hackers-charged-stealing-xbox-army-technology
  2. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 11, 2011
    В небо
    I love devkit hardware n beta games that shouldn't be out in the public, but stealing....
    My my...
  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    When copyright style damages meet something interesting... I might have to actually follow this one.
  4. Saturosias

    Saturosias Sakura-sō Resident

    Dec 27, 2010
    United States
    So tangible, heh.
  5. yusuo

    yusuo GBAtemp Addict

    Oct 19, 2006
    Why is there no manual on how to hack, I mean I don't wanna be as hardcore as these guys but would love to learn the basics of hacking, enough to wiggle into my own network
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    "All of computer science, learn it."

    More generally I find it is split into two main classes.

    1) Those looking for new exploits.

    2) Those that use said exploits to get things done.

    2) is not necessarily script kiddy stuff, it probably encompasses it but that is but a fraction. For some they would hacking is just system administration gone into reverse -- I might be able to find some crazy bug in an obscure part of the kernel but the time it takes to do that does not matter so much when they left default passwords for root accounts, allowed me physical access to the machine (in most cases a nice bootCD gets me past things) or otherwise did not set up, or even disabled, security in the first place. Equally there is enough of this that learning it and being able to think through/apply it is not a skillset to be sniffed at.

    1) is where the computer science stuff comes in. Safe code is hard to write when you are trying to also make it small and speedy, equally safe code does not matter if the underlying logic of your program (or the combination of programs you are using) is at fault.

    Also "enough to wiggle into my own network" might be easier said than done. Your home network probably consists of mostly locked down machines, a firewall that is always up on your router, maybe some decent wireless security and few soft, juicy targets. The average small/medium business probably has enough to have a hardware firewall but may well be running various versions of various operating systems (probably held back in case it breaks some critical software -- the 5 hours you spent one evening fixing a game when a driver update broke it is fine, the five hours your entire company could not do business because an update broke it is not so fine, to that end many choose to be careful/lazy in what they update), have nice forwarded ports, a machine on a DMZ, some guest wireless that is not so guest like, unguarded network ports, a nice network driven printer which have all sorts of juicy vulnerabilities and more besides.
  7. djbubba2002

    djbubba2002 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Feb 10, 2007
  8. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey

    Eh, it's not even worth it...
    eobb, WiiU, Taleweaver and 1 other person like this.
  9. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Dec 23, 2009
    Tough charges. But while 100 million in intellectual property sounds like a lot, I gotta say they've got an impressive resume. While game studios aren't exactly specialized in security, you'd think that microsoft and the freakin' US army know how to keep hackers out. :unsure:

    Erm...have you tried googling? It only nets about 8.4 million hits.
  10. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my posts...it's over 9000!!!

    Nov 17, 2008
    should have let them go they could have made a better xbox one free of rrod, free online and not the size of a fucking VCR! :creep:
  11. Sicklyboy

    Sicklyboy ~I have crippling depression~

    Global Moderator
    Jul 15, 2009
    United States
    [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]
    >steal stuff from Valve

    Please please PLEASE tell me they leaked Half-life 2 Episode 3.
  12. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

    Sep 14, 2010
    Sicklyboy likes this.
  13. Purple_Shyguy

    Purple_Shyguy GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 8, 2008
    Republic of Ireland
    $100 million of intellectual property?

    So like half a million bucks of actual real value?
  14. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    If my memories of the accounting books are correct then probably more like $20000 -- $1000 for each item.
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