Watching over Overwatch
Earlier this week, fifteen arrests were made on Chinese hackers who created and distributed hacking software for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Today, a similar case in Overwatch has resulted in two South Korean hackers out of thirteen arrests receiving sentencing.
Many people know South Korea as one of the biggest supporters of eSports and video games out there. Because of this, there is also a thriving black market for hacking tools, especially those used for winning online games. South Korea had an especially nasty problem with hackers in 2016 and 2017. An increase of PC cafés, referred to as “PC bangs” in South Korea, allowed cheaters to cycle between freebie accounts quickly when one gets banned. Blizzard changed the rules in early 2017, requiring a Korean Battle.net account to log in at a PC bang. It helped dissuade cheaters, but those who created the hacks remained a problem.
Play of the game
However, in June 2017, South Korea passed a law designed to catch these creators. The law brings specific mention to the creation of “game hacks” and the creation and distribution of private servers. Those found guilty could face up to five years in prison and a max fine of up to about 53,763,000 won ($50,000). Some writers shared concerns that the law could be too broad and impact benign mod creators. Still, the law managed to make a big catch earlier this year as thirteen hack creators were arrested.
Blizzard Korea shared a post (translated by Kotaku) stating that one of the Overwatch hack creators has been sentenced to two years probation from the South Korean government. The other received a fine of 10 million won (about $10,000). Blizzard Korea had been working with the Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department in a year-long investigation starting back in January 2017 in order to crack down on hack creators. While the sentenced hackers received relatively light sentences, their fate should be considered a warning to other hack creators.
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