Recently the U.S. Department of Justice indicted four members of an international computer hacking gang on charges of hacking into the computer networks of Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games, Inc., Valve Corporation, Zombie Studios and the U.S. Army and stealing more than a hundred million dollars worth of trade secrets and intellectual property. The hacking involved software and data related to the Xbox One console, Xbox Live online gaming system, games, such as “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” as well as software used to train military helicopter pilots for the U.S. Army. Those indicted included three Americans, Nathan Leroux, Sandadoleh Nesheiwat and eighteen year old Austin Alcala. Also indicted was David Pokora, a Canadian. Additionally, an Australian citizen has been charged under Australian law in regard to the same criminal enterprise. Two of the defendants have already pleaded guilty including David Pokora who thus becomes the first foreigner convicted of stealing trade secrets.
Hacking into companies in order to obtain trade secrets has become commonplace. According to a government report, more than 3,000 companies have been hacked by Chinese hackers. FBI Director James Comey said recently on the television show 60 Minutes that there are two types of companies in the United States, those that have been hacked by the Chinese and those that just don’t realize that they have been hacked by the Chinese. The government and business have both got to a better job of protecting the security of data. Legislation, regulation and training has got to be improved to meet a threat from government sponsored hacking as well as hacking by private criminals.