This Just In: Four Members of Hacking Ring Plead Guilty to $100 Million IP Theft

By Ritvik M. Kulkarni

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Global IT giant Microsoft was relieved after a group of four men pleaded guilty to a series of intellectual property theft. Members of this criminal conspiracy consist of Mr. Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, David Pokora, Natan Leroux and Austin Alaca. They were charged inter alia with computer intrusions leading to federal copyright infringement.

The companies affected by this criminal stint include Microsoft, Epic Games Inc., Valve Corporation and Zombie Studios. Microsoft received the biggest blow as these hackers made undue and unauthorized use and reproduction of data in the Xbox One console and Xbox Live games.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) press release on 19 year-old Alaca’s plea, “he data theft targeted software development networks containing source code, technical specifications and related information for Microsoft’s then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console, as well as intellectual property and proprietary data related to Xbox Live and games developed for that online gaming system”[1]. The games in question include popular games such as “FIFA” games, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and “Gears of War 3”.

In India, copyright infringement is a criminal offense under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

[1] Fourth Member of International Computer Hacking Ring Pleads Guilty to Hacking and Intellectual Property Theft Conspiracy, U.S. Department of Justice, April 01, 2015,           Office of Public Affairs

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