Lead members of the game piracy group (Team Xecuter) were accused and arrested for selling methods to hack and homebrew consoles.
It seems they didn’t protect their scheme enough from the fed’s eyes.
Which Members of Team Xecuter Were Accused and Arrested?
The two leaders of the group: Max Louarn (48 years old, French national) and Gary Bowser (51 years old, Canadian national) got felony charges of helping run Team Xecuter.
This group sold modification kits and other tools that allowed console users to play pirated versions of games. The gaming devices targeted are Nintendo Switch, 3DS, NES, Sony Playstation Classic (1), and Microsoft Xbox).
Yuanning Chen (Chinese national) was another alleged member of the group charged by the US District Court of Seattle. But he hasn’t been caught so far.
In the meantime, Bowser (“GaryOPA”) appeared in New Jersey’s federal court, and Louarn (“MAXiMiLiEN”) is in custody overseas. The government is seeking his extradition.
As you might guess, being the leaders of a group, they aren’t the only members dedicated to hunt vulnerabilities, designing websites, manufacturing hacking devices, and re-selling them.
In this case, the Justice Department seeks to charge them for various efforts of financial fraud and cyber-espionage. Even if they seem to not be related to any other hacking group.
The Justice Department hasn’t released much about these other accusations. As they haven’t either specified how they were able to identify and later accuse them… But they did tell something about how investigators got to the core of Team Xecuter.
They have been following clues of Team Xecuter operations since 2002.
The indictment filed says that they were hard to get due to “a wide variety of brands, websites, and distribution channels used to protect the overall enterprise in the event that one of them got targeted by gaming companies, financial institutions, and law enforcement.”
For such a long time period, there has to be some type of community behind the jailbreak of consoles. And yes, there is. Hackers and gaming enthusiast inside of or close to the group are actively seeking and activating exploits via software.
Emulators and ROMs are born from these hacks. They are that part of piracy who avoids paying for titles.
Although they haven’t stopped on consoles. For example, the organization also offered the SX Pro dongle to boost a homebrew OS (including the firmware’s licenses).
And while the online store of Team Xecutre is closed (or at least, unavailable), you could still find its products from other sources.
Are there any penalization for the group… Or at least for the trio?
Yes, there is. They have been charged with 11 felony counts, where wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering are also included.
And it seems they aren’t the only ones who are going to pay for its crimes…
Nintendo is aware of the existence of this group, and they’re currently seeking other operating/selling members.
They recently took one of their product brands (Uberchips). The BBC reported this lawsuit, where the Japanese giant claimed $2 million in damages, taking their website down, and obligating the criminals to destroy any remaining stock.
This case in particular is being investigated both by Homeland Security and FBI.
Raymond Duda, FBI Agent in charge manifested: “Imagine if something you invented was stolen from you and then marketed and sold to customers around the world.”
Can you imagine how does it feel?
Do you know what’s the worst part? That this could actually happen to you, in one way or another.
Let me explain: they’re passing over the defense mechanism of billionaire companies and clearly affecting their sales without looking at the consequences.
And I haven’t got to the worst part yet. The worst of all is that 90% of the time they aren’t caught. They’re still out there. And they won’t think it twice to take other’s assets.
So, would you dare to risk that way… Or will you protect your hard-working company?