US teen pleads guilty to $100 million gaming hack

An Indiana teen has pleaded guilty to his involvement in a hacking ring said to have stolen data worth more than $100 million from major gaming developers, reports The Register.

19 year-old Austin Alcala will be sentenced at a July 29 hearing, having admitted guilt to charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and criminal copyright infringement. The teenager could face up to five years in prison for the crime.

The group of hackers are said to have stolen software and data from gaming studios between the spring of 2012 and April 2014, targeting companies including Microsoft, Epic and Valve. Alcala is said to have worked with the other members of the group to break into corporate networks where internal documents, source code and unreleased games were all stolen.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Alcala managed to steal documents discussing the then-unreleased Xbox One console, and also stole 11,266 log-in credentials from an unnamed company which he then shared amongst the other members. Other gaming targets for the group’s heists included the FIFA, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the Gears of War franchises.

Alcala’s reputation extends beyond just this case, notes The Daily Dot, as he’s also known for scams in the Xbox hacking community under the alias AAmoney.

The DoJ estimates that the combined value of stolen intellectual property and data, as well as costs related to the victims’ response to the conduct, could be between $100 million and $200 million. Meanwhile, an Intel report cited by Sputnik News found that the annual cost of cybercrime in the US is around $100 billion, more than any other country.

Author , ESET

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