Wired's Game | Life is reporting that the South Korean Customs Service has taken down a criminal piracy ring comprised of 25 suspects. They are accused of allegedly selling over 90,000 illegally copied games and copying devices for the Nintendo DS worth over 100 billion won ($87 million). The South Korean agency turned over information on the suspects to prosecutors on Monday, according to the Korea Herald.
Yesterday we reported on Chinese mobile developer Entertainment Game Labs being accused by Runic Games president Travis Baldree of stealing art and sound assets from his company's popular action-RPG Torchlight. After getting some unwanted attention from the press and from fans, the company said today that it will modify "some parts" of its iOS MMO Armed Heroes Online.
Two British men admitted to being part of the hacktivist group LulzSec and to committing various acts of hacking against high profile targets in a British court today.
Ryan Cleary pled guilty to hacking charges to being a member of LulzSec. Jake Davis also admitted to attacking the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in the UK. The two men entered a plea of guilty earlier today while two others, Ryan Ackroyd and an unnamed 17-year-old, denied the charges.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the practice of cable broadband providers using data caps. The investigation, according to a source "close to the situation," will focus on whether cable providers are using broadband data caps to promote their own video services while discouraging customers from using services such a Netflix which count against their data caps.
Rhode Island state and Federal officials have begun to dig into the affairs of Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, who filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. According to Gamasutra, information related to the loans given by the state to 38 Studios is about to be picked apart. Earlier this month the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Attorney General's office, the FBI, and the U.S.
Is Habbo (formerly Habbo Hotel) a despicable hang-out for pedophiles that are continually preying on its underage users? A report that will air tonight on a Channel 4 news claims that they have strong evidence that it is. The report claims that pedophiles are chatting it up in the graphical social game-like teen destination, asking them if they have a "web cam," if they will get naked on camera, and trying their best to engage under age children in sexually charged conversations.
The U.S Justice Department has backed off proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act after strong public criticism to the changes, and a collective verbal lashing from lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum. Lawmakers felt that proposed changes gave the DOJ a license to lie to citizens who were looking for information from the government.
At issue was a proposal that gave the agency the ability to say that information "did not exist" if an agency determined that said information was classified in nature.
A Texas Family Court judge is now under investigation by the state's top law enforcement agency - the Texas Rangers - after a video surfaced of him beating his 16-year-old daughter Hillary Adams for downloading music and games from the Internet. The video was shot in 2004, but someone claiming to be his daughter posted the video on YouTube on October 27. The Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams was running for re-election.
The National Retail Federation has released its annual Organized Retail Crime report for the previous year. The National Retail Federation’s Organized Retail Crime survey, now in its seventh year, is conducted every spring to gauge the impact and severity of organized retail crime. The survey focuses on large scale theft of goods such as jeans, videogames, and house wares - anything that is popular and easy to sell.
On June 14 BioWare informed forum users that its Neverwinter Nights forums had been hacked and forum accounts were likely compromised. That happened on June 14. On June 23 the company offered an update on the situation and an apology to users for the inconvenience. The update was posted on the Bioware Social Network and penned by Aaryn Flynn - Studio GM, BioWare Edmonton VP, Electronic Arts:
Amazon.com's Web Services were used by hackers in the April attack against Sony’s online entertainment services, according to a Bloomberg report citing a "person with knowledge of the matter."
According to the report, hackers rented a server through Amazon’s EC2 service and launched the attack from that location, according to Bloomberg's source. The source is obviously someone that either knows the hackers that rented the services or an Amazon insider because he or she also said that the account had been shut down.
The development sheds light on how hackers used the so- called cloud to carry out the second-biggest online theft of personal information to date. The incursion, which compromised the personal accounts of more than 100 million Sony customers, was “a very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyber attack,” Sony has said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT, and the man who once railed against "Beer Pong as Connecticut's Attorney General) said in a statement that Sony's response to the security breach and service disruption on PlayStation Network and Station.com "could serve as a model for other companies facing similar criminal hacking."
Blumenthal also praised Sony's promise to offer a year of identity theft protection to PSN users as a "strong first step toward protecting millions of consumers whose personal and financial information has been compromised."
"While I continue to believe that Sony should have warned users earlier, I am pleased they are providing protective measures including an insurance policy to cover identity theft harms to consumers within a 12-month window -- but I would hope Sony would extend coverage over a longer time on a case-by-case basis if necessary," said the Senator.
C|Net is reporting that Sony is considering offering a reward for information leading to those hackers responsible for breaking into its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment networks that lead to both services being taken down nearly two weeks ago. According to the report, the company has been kicking around the idea of a reward for a while, but has not yet come to a final decision on the matter. Apparently, they are still weighing the pros and cons of offering such reward. If they do agree on it, the report claims, it will be brought before the company's top executives for approval.
CNET's report adds that any reward would have to be offered in cooperation with various law enforcement agencies around the world investigating the security breach including the FBI.
Sony has not publicly commented on this story.
Even as Sony's online gaming services were being taken down this morning, the PlayStation Blog was updated denying reports that hackers tried to sell back millions of stolen credit cards to the company. Sony's Patrick Seybold said that the reports were false and that no one in the company recalls such an event occurring. The seedy underbelly of the internet where credit cards are bought and sold every day probably disagrees, but that's Sony's official stance on the subject. Of course, if such an offer were made it would not make much sense to buy back a list that would obviously be copied and resold anyways. From the PlayStation Blog:
"We want to state this again given the increase in speculation about credit card information being used fraudulently. One report indicated that a group tried to sell millions of credit card numbers back to Sony. To my knowledge there is no truth to this report of a list, or that Sony was offered an opportunity to purchase the list."
Trip Hawkins, a founder of EA and the CEO of social and mobile game maker Digital Chocolate apparently owes the Internal Revenue Service $20 million. According to a Forbes report, Hawkins tried to use a personal bankruptcy to nullify the debt but a judge rejected it. U.S. District Court judge Jeffrey S. White upheld a lower bankruptcy court ruling related to tax shelters Hawkins has used to hide the personal wealth he gained from founding Electronic Arts nearly three decades ago.
Judge White said in his ruling that Hawkins knew he was insolvent after the IRS disallowed his tax shelters but "continued to spend money extravagantly with knowledge of his (federal and state) tax liabilities." The judge added that "Hawkins planned to defeat his taxes via bankruptcy and continue living the lifestyle to which he had grown accustomed."
A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.
The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.
The Federal Trade Commission revealed on Tuesday that it plans to look into "free to play" after several politicians complained about thousands of dollars in transactions initiated unknowingly by young children. The investigation is the result of a letter sent to the agency by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) complaining about children buying virtual items without their parents' consent (hint: it involves Smurf berries).
FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz responded to Markey that the practice of in-app purchases in iPhone and iPad games "raised concerns" that consumers may not understand the full ramifications of the charges they might face.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said today that the Federal Communications Commission should be renamed the "Fabricating a Crisis Commission," following its vote to approve new rules to regulate certain aspects of the internet. Later on in a blistering attack of the FCC's actions this week, DeMint said he will push for legislation that limits the power of the FCC to act on its own in enforcing rules.
"Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways," DeMint said in a lengthy statement.
As part of its “Operation In Our Sites” initiative, which targets illegal items distributed via the Internet that “threaten public safety and health,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized a series of websites for criminal copyright violations.
In conjunction with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ICE executed nine seizure warrants against websites, seized domain names, detained assets from 15 banking and associated accounts and enacted four residential search warrants in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
Downloading movies in an “undercover capacity,” led ICE officials to seize the following websites: TVShack.net, Movies-Links.tv, FilesPump.com, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org, ZML.com, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net. Sites taken over are now decorated with a seizure notice, as illustrated here.
Foxconn is, at least publicly, taking a beating from its clients - whose ranks include Apple, Nokia, Sony, Nintendo and more. Today Nintendo, Nokia and Sony announced in separate statements that they are conducting investigations into reports concerning a number of suicides that have occurred at several Foxconn facilities in China. Companies like Nintendo and Sony use Foxconn to manufacture products and components cheaply. The company owned by Hon Hai Precision Industries employs approximately 430,000.
Some reports have suggested that many of these companies are aware of the low pay, pressure, and bad working conditions that employees of Foxconn face; after all auditors and other company officials frequently check on production quotas and other matters that affect their supply chains.. Earlier in the week Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard issued statements saying that they take working conditions "seriously" and plan to do their own investigations into these matters.
At least two public officials are under scrutiny after purchases of video game products with tax dollars.
In Louisiana, Monroe City Schools Superintendent James Dupree (left) has been called on to explain using his business credit card to purchase a Nintendo DS and two games for $195 at a local GameStop last November.
The News-Star reports that, along with the DS, Dupree bought copies of SAT/ACT Coach and Brain Age Training. In a response to the newspaper's request for records, Dupree wrote:
All items were purchased to pilot their usability for SAT/ACT prep and recall skill building in relation to performance target objective No. 1.
Dupree said yesterday that the DS and games are sitting in his office as he has not yet found the time to use them. After checking them out himself, he plans to pass them along to a student.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Michael Gobb, former executive director of the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, has resigned following a spending probe. The state Auditor General's office found more than $500,000 in questionable expenditures by airport execs, including a $4,400 tab at a strip club as well as multiple Nintendo Wii bundles.