Updated 01:27 AM EDT, Wed, May 12, 2021

Hackers Charged for Stealing Over $100 Million Worth of Data From Microsoft, Epic Games, US Military, Valve & Zombie Studios

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The United States' Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs has formally announced on Tuesday, Sept. 30, the indictment of four members of the International Computer Hacking Ring. The subjects are Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana.

The alleged hackers are under the law for various charges, which includes conspiracies to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets. In addition, individual cases of aggravated identity theft, unauthorized computer access, copyright infringement and wire fraud will also be faced by the defendants.

U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III of the District of Delaware said in a statement, "Electronic breaking and entering of computer networks and the digital looting of identities and intellectual property have become much too common."

He added that such conducts are not harmless crimes. He warned that those who commit such should not believe they are safely beyond justice's reach.

The court records cited a long span of time from January 2011 to March 2014, when the four accused individuals and some more in the U.S. and abroad have allegedly hacked into the computer networks of Microsoft, Epic Games Inc., Valve Corporation, Zombie Studios and the U.S. Army. A definitely illegal access, the hackers were able to penetrate the systems via SQL injection, the Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs added. Reportedly, they also made use of stolen usernames and passwords of company employees and their software development partners.

Successfully getting into their desired landing pages, the conspiracy took "unreleased software, software source code, trade secrets, copyrighted and pre-release works and "other confidential and proprietary information."

What worsens the scenario is that the subjects allegedly used, shared and sold the data they have collectively gathered.

Specifically, the group reportedly took Xbox One's and Xbox Live's intellectual property and proprietary data, pre-release games such as "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" and "Gears of War 3," according to IGN. They allegedly stole the U.S. Army Apache helicopter training software from developer Zombie Studios.

Two of the four have pleaded guilty, as reported by LA Times. The eldest of the accused, Nesheiwat and Pokora, will be sentenced on Jan. 13. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed McAndrew said on Tuesday via Economic Times, "These were extremely sophisticated hackers. Don't be fooled by their ages."

The Department of Justice clarifies that an indictment is merely an allegation - those who have not been convicted are presumed innocent. The estimated worth of all the stolen information ranges from $100 million to $200 million.

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