February 12, 2015
On January 20, 2015, the DOJ reported a third guilty plea by a young hacker to a conspiracty to break into the networks of tech companies and steal intellectual property. All four of the alleged conspirators are under 30 years old, and one was only 19. The intended theft was for software and data related to Xbox One one and Xbox Live, including games such as the “FIFA” online soccer series; “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3;” and “Gears of War 3.” According to the press release:
According to Leroux’s admissions in connection with his guilty plea, he was part of the hacking conspiracy between January 2011 and September 2012. During that period, hacking group members located in the United States and abroad gained unauthorized access to computer networks of various companies, including Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games Inc., Valve Corporation and Zombie Studios. The conspirators accessed and stole unreleased software, software source code, trade secrets, copyrighted and pre-release works, and other confidential and proprietary information. Members of the conspiracy also allegedly stole financial and other sensitive information relating to the companies – but not their customers – and certain employees of such companies.
Specifically, the data theft targeted software development networks containing source code, technical specifications and related information for Microsoft’s then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console, as well as intellectual property and proprietary data related to Xbox Live and games developed for that online gaming system.
The latest to plead guilty admitted in court that the purpose was to create and sell counterfeit versions before the intended release dates. More can be found in the press release here.