Well, they are not going to see the outside of a cell anytime soon. Four members of an international hacking ring have been charged today. They are charged with breaking into the networks of several tech companies including Microsoft, Epic Games and Valve, as well as the U.S. Army.

Two of the hackers have already owned up to their role in the hacks and have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement. Sentencing for those two is scheduled for January 13. According to The Guardian, the two men could face up to five years in prison.

Two other men involved in the hackings have not entered a plea yet. All four men are alleged to have hacked into the computer networks of Microsoft, Epic Games, Valve, Zombie Studios and the U.S. Army through SQL injections and stolen usernames and passwords. The alleged hacks took place between January 2011 and March 2014 with the monetary value on the stolen information estimated at $100 million to $200 million.

The types of data stolen included unreleased software, source code, trade secrets, financial data and more.

“The American economy is driven by innovation,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. “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.”

Delaware’s U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly touched on the seriousness of the crime and how common it has become. “Electronic breaking and entering of computer networks and the digital looting of identities and intellectual property have become much too common.”

“These are not harmless crimes, and those who commit them should not believe they are safely beyond our reach.”

Hopefully they start looking into ‘swatting,’ another serious cyber crime, soon before someone ends up getting seriously hurt or killed.

Image: Microsoft’s Xbox One was targeted in the above mentioned hacks. Credit: Getty Images


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