This article is more than 1 year old

Xbox hackers snared US ARMY APACHE GUNSHIP ware - Feds

International charges net Americans and an Aussie

Hackers from the US, Canada and Australia have been arrested over a sting that took in the US Army, gaming companies and Microsoft. The Department of Justice accuses the alleged perps of copying software worth more than US$100m.

The thieves pinched data and source code relating to then unreleased titles Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, along with an Apache helicopter pilot training program used by the US Army.

A Canadian man has entered a guilty plea, in what is thought to be the first conviction of a foreign-based individual for hacking into US businesses to steal trade secrets. The DoJ says a New Jersey man made the same plea.

Justice Department assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell said the training software was used to teach US soldiers how to fly Apache aircraft.

"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," Cadwell said in a statement.

"Today's guilty pleas show that we will protect America's intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad."

Nathan Leroux, 20, of Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Ontario, Canada; and Austin Alcala, 18, of Indiana, were charged in a federal grand jury in the District of Delaware in April, in an indictment unsealed today.

The long list of charges included conspiracies to commit computer fraud copyright infringement; unauthorized computer access; wire and mail fraud; identity theft, and theft of trade secrets.

The defendants also allegedly conspired to use, share and sell the stolen information.

From January 2011 to March this year the four men and others including the unnamed Australian allegedly breached Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games, Valve Corporation, and Zombie Studios via SQL injection and stolen staff and development partner credentials.

They also allegedly stole financial and "other sensitive information" relating to the companies and employees, but didn't take customer information.

Included in the haul was source code and technical specifications for the then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console and the online multi-player gaming and media-delivery system and pre-release versions of the Xbox games.

US authorities have seized $620,000 in cash and other proceeds.

The alleged Australian member of the ring hasn't been identified, but the DoJ names the Western Australian Police as taking part in the investigation and says charges have been laid under Australian law.

WA Police confirmed that a 17-year-old Beckenham youth charged in May 2013 was the subject of this investigation. In an email, WA Police stated that the charges included "Unlawful use of a Computer with Intent to Benefit; Possessing child exploitation material; Possess or copy an indecent or obscene article; Dishonestly obtain or deal in personal financial information ; Possession of identification material with intent to commit an offence; Fail to obey Data Access Order; Possess a Prohibited Drug (Cannabis); Possessed a Prohibited Weapon and Possess Drug Paraphernalia."

He is next due before court in January 2015. ®

Similar topics


Send us news

Other stories you might like