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How Hackers Accidentally Sold a Pre-Release XBox One To the FBI 67

SpacemanukBEJY.53u (3309653) writes Earlier this week, an indictment was unsealed outlining a long list of charges against a group of men that stole intellectual property from gaming companies such as Epic Games, Valve, Activision and Microsoft. An Australian member of the group, Dylan Wheeler, describes how it was betrayed by an informant working for the FBI, which bought a hardware mockup of an Xbox One that the group built using source code stolen from Microsoft's Game Developer Network Portal. The device, which the FBI paid $5,000 for, was supposed to be sent to the Seychelles, but never arrived, which indicated the hacking collective had a mole.
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How Hackers Accidentally Sold a Pre-Release XBox One To the FBI

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  • They would sue Microsoft pointing to their hardware mockup as prior art!
  • Yay! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Njorthbiatr ( 3776975 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @08:57AM (#48045873)

    Must mean they've already caught all the murderers, rapists, serial killers, and other dangerous criminals, now they have to turn to this.

    • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @09:12AM (#48045973)

      The cost of the human life is quite small compared to the value of the IP being disclosed here. Sad but true...

    • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @09:28AM (#48046071) Homepage Journal

      And here I learn that laws can only be enforced when all more severe crimes have been fully handled.

      "Sorry, we can't pursue this murder of your child, Mr. Smith, the genocide in Darfur isn't resolved yet."

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        And here I learn that laws can only be enforced when all more severe crimes have been fully handled.

        "Sorry, we can't pursue this murder of your child, Mr. Smith, the genocide in Darfur isn't resolved yet."

        Why would the FBI be handling the genocide in Dafur, the FBI is a domestic law enforcement agency. Things like genocide and other war crimes are handled by the International Court of Justice at the Hague (more informally called the "world court")

        There are different levels of law enforcement so that small crimes aren't lost in the big crimes. However the FBI shouldn't be concentrating on things like industrial espionage and copyright infringement as these are pretty victimless crimes and in the case of co

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Russ1642 ( 1087959 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @10:06AM (#48046363)

      So someone could steal your car, steal your identity, destroy your business with a targeted hack, and you'd be fine with the police not investigating because there are still murderers and rapists out there? Alrighty then. Crime is crime and it all deserves to be investigated. Some crimes are worse but it's not like they put them in order, start with the murderers and completely ignore the rest.

      • by Nimey ( 114278 )

        Back in the '90s the NYPD discovered that if you enforce laws against minor offenses like jaywalking, littering, etc. then there will be less serious crime in that same area.

        • It should be obvious that when you rule with an iron fist, people will shy away from more serious crimes. The question is if people are really better off.
    • Must mean they've already caught all the murderers, rapists, serial killers, and other dangerous criminals, now they have to turn to this.

      FBI doesn't do murders, rapists, serial killers, etc. Those are the business of State & local law enforcement.

      The FBI mostly does counterfeiting and kidnapping (and they only do kidnapping because the Lindbergh Baby was a potential source of good publicity for J. Edgar Hoover).

      • The FBI mostly does counterfeiting and kidnapping (and they only do kidnapping because the Lindbergh Baby was a potential source of good publicity for J. Edgar Hoover).

        The Lindbergh kidnapping is the kidnapping-for-ransom that everyone remembers from that era.

        There were others.

        The fear then and now was such kidnappings would become a commonplace - organized - crime, as it has become in other countries.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        They do do serial killers (f they kill in more than one state) and don't do counterfeiting. That's for the SS.
    • Must mean they've already caught all the murderers, rapists, serial killers, and other dangerous criminals, now they have to turn to this.

      Law enforcement multi-tasks.

      The Slashdot geek tends to believe that his elite technical skills have earned him a lifetime "Get Out Of Jail Free" card --- and will go miles out of his way to let you know it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Retitle: How an FBI mole stole a pre-release xbox one from hackers.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      ..or rather how fbi mole something loaded with xbox one devkit?

      can it even play any games? is it functional in any way? someone was just stupid enough to shell out 5 k for it. if someone was stupid enough to buy something like that, the seller could be tempted just to throw windows 8.1 on it and call it xbox one, any differences would be user error..

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @09:02AM (#48045899)

    They should have known it was a setup when someone offered to buy an Xbox One.

    I kid, I kid. ;-)

    • Or are you kidding?

      O_o

    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @09:19AM (#48046015) Journal

      Actually, lots of people wanted an Xbox One at launch. The XB1's sales curve has been really weird.

      It had pretty great month-1 sales. It would have had the fastest month-1 sales of any console in history - if it hadn't launched alongside the PS4 (which broke the previous records by an even larger margin). But some time shortly after Christmas, the sales basically flatlined. First MS switched to talking about "units shipped" rather than "units sold" and then it stopped issuing new numbers at all.

      By piecing together bits and pieces of retailer and regional sales data, it's possible to get a broad understanding of where the console stands now. Having originally been tipped to pass the Wii-U and take second-place in current gen sales somewhere around April, it appears that it probably only did so some time in September (and indeed, it certainly hasn't officially been announced yet, so there's at least an outside chance it's still in third). It's had several significant sales blips, driven first by the price cut when Kinnect was removed and then again by Destiny, but background sales outside of these blips have been generally very slow throughout 2014.

      It's actually pretty similar to (though marginally better than) the sales profile for the Wii-U. That console actually sold well during its first 6 weeks or so on sale, before flatlining. Each first-party Nintendo game since then has caused a small 1-week spike in sales, but after Mario Kart, diminishing returns appear to be kicking in.

      In regional terms, The Xbox One appears to be in a fairly solid second place in the US (behind the PS4), a distant second place in Europe (again behind the PS4) and third place in Japan. Indeed, the PS4 is also doing badly in Japan - home console gaming is dying in that market and even the Wii-U (which holds first place there) is doing badly compared to the last gen consoles.

      The Xbox One does still have a few big irons in the fire and isn't quite in a Wii-U style Last Chance Saloon yet (if Smash Bros and Bayonetta 2 don't turn around the Wii-U's fortunes this Christmas, the console essentially can be considered dead). Forza Horizon 2 is a fairly big draw and Halo 5 will be a bigger one. But MS have certainly gone backwards since the days of the 360, when they dominated the US and managed a reasonable draw with Sony in Europe. In marketshare terms, the Xbox One looks a lot more like the original Xbox.

      Though in general terms, this has been an extremely boring year for console games anyway. People get excited about new console releases, forgetting that they tend to be followed by 12 months during which there isn't much worth playing for them. It's always the later years of the cycle that are more fun in terms of game releases.

  • by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @09:14AM (#48045983) Homepage
    Looks more like the "Hackers" took $5000 from the FBI. They could have just been scammers and not even had one.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      They could have been scammers, except they actually handed it over it to someone who said he would send it to the Seychelles. Turns out the person who picked it up was working for the FBI. After they took the money they were going to be arrested for either fraud or piracy.
  • It wasn't a pre-release Xbox One, it was off-the-shelf components that met Xbox One pre-release specs. However given the systems they hacked, what they have been charged with, and why they might have wanted to assemble one, it wouldn't surprise me if they loaded it with Xbox One development kit software.
    • bought a hardware mockup of an Xbox One that the group built using source code stolen from Microsoft's Game Developer Network Portal

      *twitch* You don't make a hardware mockup out of source code. An editor somewhere needs to be slapped.

      Either it's a "hardware mockup" and it doesn't work because it doesn't have the software, or it's just a "mockup" and maybe it does work. Next, they'll be telling me it's Digital and has All The p's.

  • From the way the article describes it, the FBI actually stole the group's home-made XBox-like computer. The group used stolen login credentials to get the XBox specs and built a rig to spec with parts bought from NewEgg. Apparently a group of XBox enthusiasts paid $5000 for it (they knew it was a home-made rig), but then the guy who was supposed to send it to them handed it to the FBI instead.

    To summarize: Group builds a computer with same specs as XBox. Group agrees to sell it to another group, and is p

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Reading comprehension is hard. The group built the mockup and sold it for $5000. The person who picked it up from them claimed to be an XBox enthusiast, but actually worked for the FBI.
      • Reading comprehension is hard. The group built the mockup and sold it for $5000. The person who picked it up from them claimed to be an XBox enthusiast, but actually worked for the FBI.

        Did you read to the end? I saw this quote:

        While he was traveling in Prague, "I actually woke up, and lo and behold there is five grand sitting in my bank account," Wheeler said. "It came through, and we went 'OK!' and we sent it."

        Where he said "we" (his group) sent it. Then I read the very next bit:

        Around August 9, 2012, someone identified in the indictment as "Person A" went to Leroux's residence in Maryland and picked up the device. Person A was instructed to send the device to an address in the Seychelles. But Wheeler said he heard through the group that the package never arrived.

        Where he said that "Person A was instructed to send the device" and "he heard through the group [xbox enthusiasts who paid for it] that the package never arrived." So the story says that a group paid for it, he gave it to someone with instructions to send it to that group, then the group said it never arrived. The article continues with:

        According to the indictment, Person A -- whose real name Wheeler said he knows -- gave the package to the FBI.

        So the guy was supposed to send it to the purchasers (who

    • They would have had to steal more than just specs. They'd need the operating system, or source code as mentioned in the article, to make it functional.

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      "We at the FBI prefer the term intercepted. Thank you."

      And the FBI didn't steal it. One of their group (or an intermediary) was given the box and then didn't send it to whomever they promised they would.

  • by tippe ( 1136385 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @10:25AM (#48046493)

    Moley-moley-moley-moley-moley!

    Ah man, I've got to watch Austin Powers again. What a classic!

  • You can't "steal" intellectual "property".
  • Do the Hollywood moguls really run the country? Of course they do...
  • ... Lets steal from microsoft and then talk about it on a communication protocol they completely control.

    What.

    Could.

    Possibly.

    Go.

    Wrong?

    Use ventrilo or team speak or mumble or something. Send in an email; go to this server, use this user name, join this channel.

    Easy.

    Can the FBI take over the server or pull logs from it? Maybe... depends on where it is... there are chat servers all over the world. Use one based in Brazil or something. It will slow them down. And try not to use the same server more then once. J

  • Bullshit.

    I could run off a collective list of people to investigate:

    Every police officer
    Every politician
    Every individual with any ties to British Royalty
    Every social worker
    Every teacher
    Every doctor
    Every judge
    Every other individual who has regular contact with OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN.

  • The device, which the FBI paid $5,000 for, was supposed to be sent to the Seychelles, but never arrived, which indicated the hacking collective had a mole.

    Could someone please leak to the FBI that I'm selling illegal, pre-release bridges? Only $5 million each, plus shipping and handling. If anyone is interested you can contact me at obviousscam@didyoureallybelievethat.com

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