US charges Chinese hackers with ‘unprecedented’ attacks on gaming companies

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Hackers targeted multiple video game companies to generate and sell virtual currency online, the Justice Department said.
James Martin/CNET

Video games are a billion-dollar business, and hackers are starting to take notice, the Justice Department warned on Wednesday. The agency announced charges against five Chinese hackers and two Malaysian tech executives who it tied to a six-year campaign against multiple video game companies. The five from China — Zhang Haoran, Tan Dailin, Qian Chuan, Fu Qiang and Jiang Lizhi — are allegedly responsible for hacking more than 100 entities, including social networks, telecommunications providers, universities and nonprofit organizations. While these are common targets for nation-state hackers, the attacks on video game companies raise a new concern for the Justice Department. 

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“We see this as unfortunately a new area in which hackers are exploiting, and it’s a billion-dollar industry,” Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for Washington, DC, said at a press briefing. “There’s a lot of coins, tokens, digital currency involved in a lot of these online games.” Video game purchases drive robust sales every month, reaching $1.2 billion …

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