Four hackers have been apprehended for stealing software and data from the likes of Microsoft, Epic Games, Valve, Zombie Studios, Xbox and the U.S. Army.

The Department of Justice has officially announced the apprehension of four members of an international hacking group that stole various types of gaming technology from multiple, high-end gaming companies and Apache Helicopter training software from the United States Army. Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; and Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana, were all charged in an 18-count indictment spanning from Jan. 2011 to March 2014. These four young men are charged with conspiracies to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets. Each one of these men is also being charged with individual cases of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, unauthorized computer access and copyright infringement. Two of the hackers, Pokora and Nesheiwat, have already pleaded guilty to all of their charges.

The four men stole over $100 million in intellectual property and proprietary data from the U.S. Army and several noteworthy video game-related companies. Some of the data stolen includes info and coding from the Xbox One console (taken prior to its release), Xbox Live and games such as Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Over the past three years, the men have hacked and stolen data from the likes of Microsoft, Valve, Epic Games, Zombie Studios and the U.S. Army. The defendants used SQL injection as well as stolen usernames and passwords of company employees to access multitudes of private and sensitive information, which includes unreleased software, trade secrets, software source code, copyrighted and early release software as well as other kinds of confidential/proprietary info. While the hackers did not steal any information of the companies' customers, they did steal financial information from the companies' employees. The most sensitive piece of software that they stole was Apache Helicopter training/simulation software originally made by Zombie Studios that was sold to the U.S. Army. They also stole source code, tech specs and pertinent information about the Xbox One years before its release. The defendants then tried to sell and share the stolen information.

“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 Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell.  “The American economy is driven by innovation.  But American innovation is only valuable when it can be protected.  Today’s guilty pleas show that we will protect America’s intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.”

“Electronic breaking and entering of computer networks and the digital looting of identities and intellectual property have become much too common,” said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly. “These are not harmless crimes, and those who commit them should not believe they are safely beyond our reach.”

We should note that these are likely not the individuals responsible for the recent hacking assaults on the PSN, Bungie's Destiny servers and Infinity Ward's servers for Call of Duty: Ghosts, which have been attacked on multiple occasions after these four hackers were apprehended.

Dear hacking world, please focus on hitting ISIS' or the Westboro Baptist Church's websites instead of our favorite gaming companies.

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