Three men have been arrested by the FBI for identifying vulnerabilities and network weak points to illegally access computer systems at Microsoft, as well as video game developers Valve Corporation, Activision Blizzard, Zombie Studios, and Epic Games. The hackers were able to illegally obtain copies of various games that were still in development – games like Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.
The incidents began around January of 2011 and continued for two years, but the 54-page federal indictment was only revealed by The Smoking Gun today. The men are Nathan Leroux (19 years old); Sanadodeh Nesheiwat (28 years old); and David Pokora, a Canadian resident. These hackers were able to steal “login credentials, trade secrets, and intellectual property relating to the Xbox gaming system.”
The hackers were able to access the valid credentials of Microsoft software development partners, during the time the next-gen Xbox One was in development. In fact, using these credentials, these hackers were able to copy over and arm themselves with “internal design and technical specifications and pre-release operating system software code” and were able to build a “fake next-generation” Xbox console. They sold it on eBay for nearly $5000. A second fake Xbox console, built with hardware purchased from the popular retailer Newegg, was destined for a purchaser in the Republic of Seychelles (African island). The FBI was able to intercept the second console before it reached its destination.
According to the indictment, one of the hackers spoke of compromising a “fuckton of Paypals” from compromised databases, adding that “we could have already sold them for Bitcoins which would have been untraceable if we did it right. It could have already been easily an easy 50 grand.” “If we do this right, we will make a million dollars each,” one of the hackers stated.
These men were arrested last week, except for Pokora – whose status is unknown at this time. They are facing fifteen felony counts, including conspiracy, fraud, and computer hacking.Further reading: FBI, Microsoft, Security, Xbox