February 3rd, 2020, 21:52 Posted By: wraggster
On Friday, the defendant in an ongoing case involving hacking into and leaking details from Nintendo's servers plead guilty to his charges. 21-year old Ryan Hernandez, otherwise known as RyanRocks, was brought up on charges of illegally obtaining information from Nintendo's servers, and for possession of child pornography. Originally, Hernandez's first offense was back in 2016--when he was still a minor at the time--where he managed to use a phishing technique in order to get ahold of a Nintendo employee's credentials to download pre-release promotional information about the Nintendo Switch, and then distribute it to the public.
His actions were reported to the FBI, who then visited Hernandez in the following year, informing him that he needed to stop the malicious and illegal behavior. Hernandez promised that he wouldn't continue to do such things, but the warnings were quickly disregarded, as in 2018, he hacked directly into Nintendo servers, once again obtaining information that he broadcast to others across the internet, even bragging publically about his exploits. In the middle of 2019, the FBI once again visited Hernandez, seizing technology involved in the hack, along with hard drives and "circumvention devices used to access pirated video games and software". It was there that not only did the FBI find the ill-gotten Nintendo files, but also hundreds of child pornography-related media.
Nevertheless, from at least June 2018 to June 2019, HERNANDEZ returned to his malicious activities, hacking into multiple Nintendo servers and stealing confidential information about various popular video games, gaming consoles, and developer tools. HERNANDEZ boasted about his hacking exploits on several online and social media platforms, such as Twitter and Discord, and leaked some of the stolen information to others. HERNANDEZ further operated an online chat forum called “Ryan’s Underground Hangout” in which he and others discussed Nintendo products and shared information about possible Nintendo network vulnerabilities, and on which he shared some of the confidential information he had stolen.
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The maximum sentence for illegally hacking is only 5 years in prison, while possession of child pornography is a far greater issue, and has a maximum prison time of 20 years. Due to Hernandez's guilty plea, the lawyers involved with the case have recommended a sentence of 3 years, though this could be altered by the judge at the time of sentencing, which will take place on April 21, 2020. Additional stipulations to the case also include Hernandez agreeing to pay $259,323 in damages to Nintendo, and being forced to register as a sex offender, once he is free from prison.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors and defense attorneys, will recommend three years in prison. However, the ultimate sentence is up to the judge and could be up to the statutory maximums of 5 years in prison for computer fraud and abuse, and 20 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
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