Four hackers convicted of breaching Microsoft, Valve, Epic & US Military servers

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Four hackers have been found guilty of breaching the computer systems of the US military, besides hacking leading video game firms and laying their hands on more than $100 million in intellectual property.

So far, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has been able to seize liquid money worth $620,000 along with “other proceeds” pertaining to the crime.

Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana; and David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, are the ones charged with “aggravated identity theft, unauthorized computer access, copyright infringement and wire fraud.”

Nesheiwat and the Canadian citizen, Pokora have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy of computer fraud and copyright infringement. The 22-year-old convict, Pokora has become the first foreigner to be apprehended for hacking into a US business.

In addition to the named hackers, an unnamed Australian citizen (assumed to be Dylan Wheeler), who was part of the conspiracy, has been charged under Australian law.

Justice Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s criminal division said, “Today’s guilty pleas show that we will protect America’s intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.”

As per the statement published by the DoJ, the hackers reportedly breached secure servers, before advancing to access and download “unreleased software, software source code, trade secrets, copyrighted and pre-release works and other confidential and proprietary information,” belonging to Microsoft, Valve, Epic Games and Zombie Studios. They will be sentenced on January 13, 2015.

The indicted hackers had pinched code from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, in addition to having stolen software associated with military helicopter pilot training from the server of the US army with the motive to sell the data they had thus accumulated. Even as customers’ information remained unaffected, commercial documents have been compromised along with “other sensitive information relating to the companies.”