Accused Aussie game hacker flees to Europe ahead of trial

Interpol alert issued for supposedly naughty boy


An Australian man facing 25 hacking charges has fled to Europe ahead of a court hearing for his alleged involvement in an international hacking operation targeting Microsoft, Valve, Epic, and the US Army, according to reports.

The 19 year-old Perth man, who cannot be named as he was arrested as a juvenile in May 2013, is alleged to have been party to the theft of then-unreleased titles Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, and an Apache helicopter training program. The attacks were said to have caused some $100m in damages.

Western Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions has informed Interpol that the man is a person of interest.

The Australian reports that the man absconded because "court delays and harassment by West Australian police made it impossible for him to fund his legal defence".

The man faces six counts of unlawful use of a computer and seven counts of possessing child-exploitation material – but rejects breaking any Australian law.

The alleged hacker told the Australian he had spent $10,000 defending himself over the last two years without his case having reached trial. He also claimed a police raid on his home last month which resulted in computers being seized contained the files of a consultancy business which was his main source of income.

Lawyer Andrew Chelvathurai says the charges against his client are not clear.

"Proving this case is going to be a real challenge for them," Chelvathurai told the paper. [My client] operated a few virtual servers on which he was system administrator, but that doesn’t mean he downloaded material himself."

The man says he spent $10,000 in legal defence adding his seized computers contained important files for his consultancy business.

Western Australia Police refused to comment on the case.

The charges include: unlawful use of a computer with intent to benefit; possessing child exploitation material; possessing or copying an indecent or obscene article; dishonestly obtaining or dealing in personal financial information; possession of identification material with intent to commit an offence; failure to obey a data access order; possessing a prohibited drug (cannabis); possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Indiana man Austin Alcala, 19, pleaded guilty April to charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and criminal copyright infringement.

Alcala was said to be involved in the theft and distribution of 11,266 log-in credentials from an unnamed company to other members of the group. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022