Industry News

Four Indicted for Stealing Helicopter Software and Gaming Technology

Four people have been indicted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly stealing helicopter software and gaming technology worth over $100 million, according to a DOJ announcement.

Charges included copyright infringement, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud, theft of trade secrets and identity theft. Two of the defendants pleaded guilty

“As the indictment charges, the members of this international hacking ring stole trade secret data used in high-tech American products, ranging from software that trains U.S. soldiers to fly Apache helicopters to Xbox games that entertain millions around the world,” said Leslie R. Caldwell Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Criminal Division. “Today’s guilty pleas show that we will protect America’s intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.”

The hackers allegedly stole helicopter training software used by Apache military pilots and developed for the US Army by Zombie Studios.

Gaming technology was stolen from vendors such as Microsoft, Epic Games, Valve and Zombie Studios between January 2011 and March 2014. It included software data of Microsoft’s Xbox One console and Xbox Live network. Pre-release versions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3 were also stolen.

So how did they do it?

The hackers allegedly used stolen credentials of employees and leveraged other breaching methods such as SQL Injection. Once inside the networks, they allegedly “accessed and stole unreleased software, software source code, trade secrets, copyrighted and pre-release works and other confidential and proprietary information.”

Financial and confidential information of companies and their employees also may have been stolen while customers stayed out of harm’s way.

Estimates put the stolen data at a value of between $100 million and $200 million, and police seized more than $620,000 in cash and other assets.

About the author

Lucian Ciolacu

Still the youngest Bitdefender News writer, Lucian is constantly after flash news in the security industry, especially when something is vulnerable or exploited. Besides digging for 'hacker' scoops and data leaks, he enjoys sports, such as football and tennis.
He has also combined an interest for social and political sciences, as a graduate of the Political Science Faculty, with a passion for guitar and computer games.