A group of hackers have been arrested for allegedly breaking into the computer systems of Microsoft and stealing pre-release copies of popular video games such as “Call of Duty” and “Gears of War 3” as well as counterfeit versions of the Xbox gaming system. They also allegedly hacked into U.S. Army computer systems to steal software used for Apache helicopter pilot simulations.
These hackers, young men from Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Canada, had been stealing information from Microsoft and the Army since 2011, and then selling counterfeit versions of software and hardware products online.
The three men have been charged with 15 felonies, including conspiracy, fraud, and computer hacking.
How They Did It
According to court documents, the three hackers were able to find network vulnerabilities at Microsoft and other video game companies that gave them access to games that were still being developed.
They then used these stolen internal designs, technical specifications, and pre-release operating system software code to sell counterfeit versions on eBay and other places.
By gaining access to another video game company named Zombie Studios, the three men were also able to gain backdoor access to the Army’s network. By doing so, they were able to steal Apache simulation software, which was being developed by Zombie Studios for the Army.
The trio was caught by the FBI when they tried to sell the counterfeit Xbox console to a man who lived in the Republic of Seychelles.
Who Can We Trust With Our Data?
This episode illustrates just one more example of a major corporation (as well as the government) getting hacked by ordinary citizens, which shows that even supposedly impenetrable networks have security holes.
Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, along with retailers such as Target store enormous amounts of private information about us, including private email messages, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information that we definitely don’t want hackers to get their hands on.
An incident like this begs the question: if companies like Microsoft can’t safeguard their own proprietary information, how well can they protect your information?