Four hackers accused of stealing military software

The IP was worth more than $100m and included US Army software and games

Four US hackers have been accused of stealing the intellectual property of the US military and games developers, amounting to a value of more than $100m (62m).

The software the four managed to hack into included the US Army tools used to train Apache helicopter pilots and intellectual property belonging to developers such as Epic Games, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games.

US attorney General Caldwell said: "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 US soldiers to fly Apache helicopters to Xbox games that entertain millions around the world."

The hackers have been named as Nathan Leroux, Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, David Pokora and Austin Alcala, and each faces charges for conspiracy to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets.

All are between 18 and 28 years of old, but this doesn't mean the attacks shoudn't be concerning, said US attorney Ed McAndrew.

They reportedly managed to hack into the organisations' systems by stealing usernames and passwords from employees so they could break in using an SQL injection attack that allows hackers to take a data dump from data-driven applications.

The US Department of Defense, FBI, the Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs, US Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, US Postal Inspection Service, Western Australian Police and Peel Regional Police of Ontario, Canada, collaborated to bring the four from Indiana to account.

Assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell said the case should act as a detterent to other hackers and demonstrate that such behaviour won't be tolerated: "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."

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