The Rise And Fall Of SuperDaE, A Most Unusual Aussie Game Hacker

The first thing that ever puzzled me about the man I used to know as SuperDaE was that he didn't sound Australian.

I couldn't detect an accent.

SuperDaE told me back then, during our first long-distance call from New York to wherever he was in Australia, is that he got that a lot. He swore to me that he really was Australian. Over the next month he would tell me many, many things that were hard to believe. I'd eventually be able to confirm half of it. I was left to wonder about the rest.

He'd claimed to know about the next Xbox and PlayStation, claimed to really have two prototype versions of the next Xbox. He said he'd had access to next-gen games, that he had Homefront 2 and Sleeping Dogs 2, that he'd played Gears of War 3 a year before it came out and that — after he drunkenly told Epic about it — they'd sent him a poster. He could send me a photo, if I wanted to see it.

A month after we'd first talked, he'd convinced me he'd done many of the extraordinary things he'd said. I'd changed my impression of him from possibly being a disgruntled, anonymous game developer to being a hacker — a really good hacker. "I'm more than that," he told me with a laugh during one of our many calls. "I'm just an image."

Our most recent phone call happened on Saturday, February 16. We talked for two hours, me trying to confirm things he'd said before. He told me his wildest stories yet. I asked him if he expected to wind up in gaol. "Possibly," he told me.

At that moment, he sounded naive. Possibly?

"I try to be optimistic," he said. "But yes."

On Tuesday, February 19, members of the Western Australian computer crimes police force raided the home of SuperDaE, aka Dan Henry, aka Dylan. They had a warrant. Dylan — that's his real first name (he asked that his last name not be used) — said they had an FBI agent with them. They took his computers. They took piles of papers. They took a souvenir cup that was shaped like a penis. He says they took his phone, froze his assets.

"I've lost everything," he told me when I found him again on Twitter a couple of days later. He said his life was in ruins. "Was what I did wrong?" he asked me. "Did I really deserve it? As the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat."

Gears of War 3, A Year Or So Early

SuperDaE really does live in a suburb of Perth in Western Australia. He has declined to tell me how old he is and says he doesn't have a job. He blames chronic pain. I never met him in person and the only image I've seen of him is the one atop this story, which he says is from an old driver's licence photo. He says he travels a lot. Over the phone, he sounds young and up through our last conversation, before the cops came, carefree.

I first heard of him, of "SuperDaE", in the winter of 2012 when he seemed, quite ridiculously, to be trying to sell a development kit for the next Xbox — codenamed the "Durango" — on eBay. It seemed too brazen to be real, even after images appeared online of his supposed Durango with a piece of paper affixed to it. On the paper was the word "SuperDaE". I have good sources in the games industry, so even though Microsoft refuses to comment on any Durango questions I've ever asked them, my sources told me that, yes, the images were of the real thing.

I pegged SuperDaE as a disgruntled game developer or some other industry insider. Who else could get a Durango? Or at least how else could he know what a unit looked like in order to post a picture that made it seem like he had the real thing?

The eBay auction never went through. SuperDaE would tell me that Microsoft made a copyright claim on it. Microsoft wouldn't comment to me about the auction at all. Dylan now tells me that the eBay thing wasn't exactly what it seemed. Regardless, It wasn't his first strangely bold manoeuvre.

Back in early 2012, Dylan says, he drunkenly called someone at Epic Games. Epic is the North Carolina-based studio behind the Gears of War games and the Unreal graphics engine which top publishers and developers from around the world use to power their own games.

He spilled the beans and told them he'd had access to some part of their computer system for a long time — since early 2011, he would tell me. But he liked Epic and he was happy to tell them where their security holes were. In an email exchange, an Epic employee thanked him. Dylan asked if he could have a poster.

They sent him one.

"A hacker compromised our internal network a couple years ago," an Epic spokesperson told me recently, verifying the basics of Dylan's story. "We were able to start a conversation and work with him to make it more secure. As thanks, we sent him a signed poster from the team. No social security numbers, credit cards or other sensitive customer data was compromised during the breach." Epic notified their forum users and their licensees that there was a breach. All was taken care of.

But when I told Dylan about this, he displayed what I'd come to know as his penchant for icing one tale with a wilder one. He told me he got access to the computer of former Epic star game designer Cliff Bleszinski and found his social security number. He said he got access to usernames and passwords of Epic forum users and "to an extent, yes, credit card info". When I noted my surprise, he responded: "I had Epic's AmEx for a while." But he says he never charged anything to it. "That would have been a big red flag," he told me.

Dylan said he didn't do much with Gears of War 3. He has consistently maintained that he pirated nothing, that he never put a game on a torrent or tried to sell any as a side thing. "It's unethical," he said of piracy. "I like a lot of those studios. [Piracy] damages them. Developers don't want their games to go out early."

He said he never tried to profit from hacking, though, yes, he seemed to be trying to sell next-gen Xbox development kits on eBay. When I suggested, a couple of weeks ago, that there was an inconsistency there, he laughed. "You can say I was going to give the money away."

If Not Valve, Then Blizzard. If Not Blizzard, Then...

Dylan has maintained that he is merely curious. He says he's not even a huge gamer, that he just liked the challenge of seeing if he could poke around and find things out. That's why, he says, he tried to hack his way into Valve. He claims that a 2011 hack was his, but that Valve described it all wrong. There were no credit card numbers obtained, he said, offering me no proof he really did the hack. He said he was just looking for Half-Life 3 — and didn't manage to find anything about it. Valve declined to comment for this story.

Epic, Valve... there was more. He used to brag to me that a list of game companies that he hadn't gotten access to would be shorter than the ones he did.

There was Blizzard, the World of Warcraft people. "I poked around Blizzard because I actually love Blizzard as a company, and I'd imagine working at Blizzard would be a dream job," Dylan said to me in an email. "I accessed Blizzard, because it would have been awesome to play on my own World of Warcraft server or to own the source code — heck, to play their new MMO Titan, the possibilities are endless." He later told me that Blizzard, of all the companies he's tried to access, are the best at spotting intruders and changing their passwords.

A Blizzard rep confirmed to me that a hacker — presumably Dylan — had gained access to an employee's webmail account, as Dylan had told me he'd done, but that access was swiftly denied. No customer information was accessed, or accessible via the intrusion, the company says.

Reps for Square Enix and United Front Games, the presumed publisher and developer, respectively, for Sleeping Dogs 2 did not comment on Dylan's assertion that he had access to their unannounced game — or that it even exists.

As for THQ, that publisher just went out of business and is not around to confirm if he really got Homefront 2, a first-person shooter sequel Dylan maintained was being made for Durango. The game's studio Crytek did not reply to a request for comment.

To convince me he had Homefront 2, Dylan had sent me this, a supposed file directory for the game:

Easily faked or the real deal? Dylan used to talk about flying to the States and showing me next-gen games running on Durango. If he had a Durango up and running, he easily could have sent me a screenshot of this or any other game. He never did, and yet his access to game company's data, extraordinary as it often seemed, was backed up by proof a lot of the time.

Can You Really Order A Durango Online?

Dylan wanted to know about next-gen systems, and somehow he learned plenty. He got development documentation for the next PlayStation and Xbox. Long before I'd sized him up as a hacker, he'd sent me troves of PDFs and white papers describing the functionality of both the code-named Orbis and Durango. The documentation was loaded with programming code — and with details.

Earlier this week, Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 (the former Orbis) and it turned out that everything in the documentation Dylan had sent me — the names of the controller's buttons, the specs of its new touchpad, the specs for the console itself — were entirely correct. Sony never commented to me about Dylan's supposed hack, but their PS4 press conference made a strong argument that what he said he'd done, he'd done. His info all checked out.

The stuff in Dylan's Durango and Orbis documentation was meant for game-makers and other insiders. I read through it. I checked with sources who were in the industry and could verify if this material was real. It was. Dylan had found a way to get to it. Did he gain access through usernames and logins he grabbed from Epic? Or some other company? It's not clear.

Gaining access to digital paperwork might be hard, but it's not hard to imagine a hacker doing it. The same goes for getting game code. But imagine this scenario: You access Microsoft's internal developer network. You pose as a game developer. You access a shopping page intended for developers, where you can tick off some boxes and, for 7500 Euros, order yourself a Durango development kit. Maybe yYu claim to be from Rockstar, makers of Grand Theft Auto. You put in any old banking info, to the extent it asks for that. And you put in the address of a "drop" location — some place other than where you live. You track the package, and then you just wait for the FedEx person to arrive, take the delivery and — voila! — you've got a development kit.

That's what SuperDaE says he did. Or at least that's what he told me he did when we were talking last Saturday.

Can you really trick Microsoft into sending something as sensitive as a development kit for their next Xbox to a random Australian address? Can you really trick the payment system since, presumably, you don't have the €15,000 for the two development kits you say you got?

Dylan never gave me a clear answer for any of that, but he did send me a screenshot of the supposed Microsoft developer online store. You or I can't get the URL to work, not without a game developers' password, something I don't have. Microsoft won't comment on any of this, so they're not confirming either. Judge for yourself:

After the police raided Dylan's house — and that event definitely did happen, according to Australian police — Dylan told me a somewhat different story. Or perhaps I had misunderstood him. He'd never had the Durangos. They'd been sent to his friend in the United States or at least to a drop location his friend had access to. He was just the face for the eBay sales. He hadn't sold them. It became less and less clear to me what role, if any, he played in accessing them — to the extent that he and the hackers he knew really managed to trick Microsoft into sending that sensitive hardware out.

"I never personally touched the Durango itself," he told me. "I've played through the Durango operating system, but not the original."

And was there a third Durango? Dylan told me he helped order and get it delivered to someone on an island. He says that one sold for $US5000 and that he has the bank receipt. I've never seen it.

As far-fetched as Dylan's Durango devkit tales seem, some things are for certain: the images of the devkit he put online showed the devkit — or at least the shell of one. If he or his friends were faking the sale and never really ordered a unit from Microsoft, they'd still managed to figure out what a Durango development PC looked like and were able to set up a unit that, at worst, resembled one.

Whether the sale was serious or not, Microsoft cared about it enough to send someone to Australia to see what the deal was with the mysterious SuperDaE. Dylan claims that a private eye tracked him down and then arrived at his door with a man named Miles Hawkes, a senior member of Microsoft's IP crimes team. As Microsoft doesn't comment on anything that involves the word Durango, it's only possible to look at Dylan's account of what happened next. Dylan shared his version of the story with me in an email:

Miles Hawkes and a Private investigator that MSFT hired to track me down came and knocked on my door, long story short, sitting in the living room table with them, Miles and I conversed about the Durango and other units, I did not admit to the legitimacy of the Durango, as that would mean I would have to return it. I did however reveal a list of accounts to access Microsoft's Xbox Developer Program, which they call 'GDNp' (Game Developer Network program). Microsoft also knows I'm not malicious, probably from their research into me and everyone else linked to me to do with Microsoft and Xbox. I however, didn't have much to show Microsoft as I zeroed my hard drives the minute Microsoft was at the door, I only had a Macbook Air with 64GB SSD that happened to have some information. I booted Durango on a Mac, his face, needless to say, was priceless. However, I had an Xbox 360 Development Kit in plain sight and was asked (or rather, threatened in a nice way) to "forfeit it, or they would come back tomorrow with a court order", I complied, funnily enough, Miles joked about how I could just buy a new one anyway since they don't cost much anymore anyway.

Miles invited me to lunch at the Hyatt in Perth, Western Australia, where he happened to be staying. I just ordered a Coke and he ordered a Diet Coke. He laid out and asked questions about everything, which I answered to. I mentioned how my "group" was organised, the group being, everyone in the Xbox Scene that I happen to know personally, most of whom seem to be scared about everything that happened recently to do with the FBI's ongoing investigation into me, and a recent seizure and raid that happened on a friend of mine. I mentioned how I was the main guy, how I was the guy behind most everything, and how everyone else simply helped me, etc. Microsoft didn't seem to [sic] phased about me having access to their files, however they didn't appreciate me having access.

Note the reference to an FBI investigation. Dylan told me he believed the FBI were trying to track him down as far back as the Epic breach. He believed they wanted to put heat on those in his hacker "scene" that were much more proficient at hacking Xboxes than he was. A hacker friend was raided in Newark in December. Dylan showed me the warrant as proof and suggested I call the Baltimore office of the Bureau to confirm that they were going after him as well. The national and Baltimore offices of the FBI did not return my requests for comment.

The extent to which Dylan's account of his meeting with Hawkes is accurate is impossible to ascertain. Dylan shared what he said were texts between him and Hawkes during and right after the visit. (I've included one here. Judge for yourself.)

At the time it was happening, Dylan Tweeted about a meeting with Microsoft. Beyond that, the facts are unclear.

What happened after the meeting with Miles Hawkes seemed similar to what went down with Epic. Dylan told me that he liked Microsoft, as he did Epic. He thought they were a cool company, and so, when faced with someone from the company. He liked Durango. It was better than Orbis, he thought. He figured he'd talk to Microsoft about how they could improve their security. So the hackers and Microsoft started e-mailing each other.

In an email exchange Dylan showed me that seemed to occur between a member of Microsoft's security team and Dylan and a fellow hacker, the Microsoft person seems to be trying to find a way to work together:

The apparent Microsoft person goes on to ask about vulnerabilities supposedly cited by Dylan or his associate, one of which involves the notion of a hacker being able to glean an Xbox user's "account" info only by knowing their Gamertag.

Dylan's fellow hacker replies in detail about issues with the security of content on the Xbox Live Marketplace — the Xbox 360's online store — but doesn't elaborate on the Gamertag issue. The e-mail ends with a request for the Microsoft person to maybe put in a good word for them. "I don't mean to ask anything of you, and if I denied, I'll still be more than willing to help," Dylan's apparent hacker friend writes, "but do you think it would be possible that me and Dylan, if proved to be useful, could possibly list someone we've spoken to on your end as a reference for resumes or something of the sort?"

I don't know where the conversation went from there nor if any proof for the supposed Gamertag hack was ever given. Dylan said that that kind of hack wasn't his thing. He also says he became disaffected with Microsoft.

"They don't fix security issues," he told me, complaining that he felt like the Microsoft people wanted him to do their work for them. "There's issues where I can log into a powerboard into Microsoft and can switch off 1000 servers..." He was telling me this last Saturday and I tried to get him to slow down.

Turn off servers? Really? He started typing, said that the trick was to sniff around and look for a certain range of Microsoft IP addresses, load them up, wind up at some server login prompts, type in the default passwords for those servers and... this is what he showed me he found, his mouse hovering over a deactivation option:

Real? A hoax? He says they wanted to know which IP addresses were involved in this. He says he thought they should be able to figure that out themselves. He also says he has no idea what the servers were tied to. Could have been Xbox Live. Could have been a bunch of coffee makers.

While avoiding addressing any of the "Durango"-related aspects of this saga, Microsoft did comment to me about three notions: that they were hacked, had security flaws exposed and that they had set the Feds loose on Dylan. "Microsoft did not initiate this FBI investigation with this individual, as has been asserted in some of the articles in the media," a Microsoft spokesperson told me. "We take security very seriously and have no evidence of any compromise of our corporate network. We have no further comment on this matter."

The Raid

Dylan's back and forth with Microsoft was in spring. The attempted Blizzard breach was in January. He sent me the Orbis and Durango documents around the same time and put a Durango back up for sale on eBay. (That sale has been closed.) Dylan and I last spoke on the phone this past Saturday. And then, last Tuesday, anything Dylan says he was doing — anything he thought he was getting away with — ended.

The cops showed up and they took pretty much everything. Was it related to our most recent, most detailed call? He would later tell me he thought it was just a coincidence.

By this point, bear in mind, Dylan had his doubters. People who saw the eBay auctions or the tweets or even the stories we'd written about him — stories in which, admittedly, we said he had possession of Durango devkits that we're no longer so certain he did — wondered if anything this guy claimed was true.

Well something was true. He'd gotten someone's attention. Because it's not likely that the cops show up with a warrant for nothing.

"Technology Crime Investigation Unit is currently conducting a multi-jurisdictional investigation into computer related offences," the Western Australian police told Kotaku in a statement this week. "A search warrant was conducted Tuesday 19 February 2013, in relation to this investigation and items were seized."

According to an official warrant supplied to me by Dylan, the police showed up at 7:10AM and ended their search around 12:30 in the afternoon. The warrant called for a search for computers, gaming consoles, hard drives, and records related to Microsoft, Microsoft partners, PayPal and eBay. (eBay and PayPal, which are part of the same company, did not return a request for comment about this.)

Dylan told me that he was polite and helpful during the raid, but that "they didn't allow me a lawyer... that's probably the biggest right they took from me." He said that one of the cops told him he was a "pretty boy" who would "most likely be someone's bitch in gaol."

The police didn't address these allegations with us, nor has anyone confirmed that the American who Dylan says was present was an FBI agent. Dylan says he was and was told as much by the Australian police. "American accent," he told me over Twitter, "The other police told me he was FBI and well, he was."

Records of the raid list six pages' worth of items seized by the police. Here's just a sampling:

Dylan says the police took his phone. He told me he couldn't get to his money after the raid, that the police took his bank cards. The seizure documents list a Blackberry, a Visa and banking records, all confiscated. Shortly after the raid, Dylan hopped on Twitter, apparently from a nearby Apple store.

https://twitter.com/superDaE/status/303758749426933760

https://twitter.com/superDaE/status/304094291586842624

I tried calling him the next day. After two rings, his phone went to voicemail.

In the days since the raid, Dylan has only been in touch over Twitter and, briefly, over what he said was a borrowed phone. He swiftly sent me the warrant and seizure documents and decided, at that moment, that he was OK with me using his real first name.

"Feel free to use my real name in the article," he said. "At this stage I have nothing to lose, I've lost everything."

***

Over Twitter, privately, Dylan has seemed crushed, telling me a couple of days after the raid that he was "pretty down, flashbacks to the raid are frequent." Publicly on Twitter, he's become a little more animated, and has been retweeting anyone who uses the hashtag #FreeSuperDaE.

"I was treated like a criminal," he complained to me, looking back at the raid.

It seemed to me that it didn't matter if he really didn't pirate or if he really didn't use any stolen credit card numbers. He'd said that he got access to companies' computers by using others' logins. That alone might seem pretty bad.

"No one was hurt from what I did," he said to me. "So it's shocking that they want to ruin me like this."

Dylan says he hasn't been charged with anything yet. He says he's living with family.

"I am a hacker in the eyes of the law," he told me a couple of weeks ago. "However, how I see it is [that] I am someone curious with information and obsessed with owning everything that I otherwise shouldn't."

Some of the tales Dylan told seem too wild to be true, but those Orbis and Durango documents? Real. Epic and Blizzard? They say he got into them, however briefly.

What could he have known? What could he have done? What gaming secrets could SuperDaE have discovered? Whichever of his claims you choose to believe — whichever claims that, with the police cracking down, he may wish fewer people had believed in the first place.


Comments

    Send his ass to jail

      To play an old saying, the guy is innocent until proven guilty. It's now up to the Australian judicial system to weigh the evidence in determination of a possible guilty penalty.

      The law will decide whether putative crimes warrant a gaol sentence, not you.

        Fortunately, an open justice system allows we mere mortals to comment on what we think should happen. Nobody here is under the false impression they'll be personally handing down his sentence. Relax.

      More likely he'll get picked up by a software company to work on their security

        hardly. As a manager myself I wouldn't hire someone with a penchant for leaking private information. That guy's a security risk, especially if he gets it into his head that your multi-million dollar project would do better in the hands of a competitor, or GNU. His actions could sink a company and ruin lives

          I have nothing against hiring hackers (hey, I was one myself when I was a teenager back in the days of 2400 baud modems). However, I do have something against hiring people who are just so down right undisciplined they feel forced to bleat their activities on twitter and to journos.

          There are plenty of smart people out there but there is a general lack of individuals who are both smart and can demonstrate rigour. Accordingly, most of the real hackers who have this trait don't end up in expose' like this one - because they are disciplined enough not to brag.

          Yeah.. Hackers can't get jobs, that is why they do it for fun. If nobody wants your skillz why not make the most of them while you can?

          I know the guy IRL and he's always been in it for the attention.
          Many of the things that have been attributed to him have been bought information - and this is likely just another case of the same.
          If anybody's reading this article thinking he'd be a good new face to employ - just don't.

    I have to agree with him on his final statements, if he has in fact not used any info he has obtained to harm people or companies and in fact has helped them, why is he a criminal? From the talk it doesn't seem like he is even directly responsible for obtaining those devkits and was just hosting the sale for cover the ass of an American friend.

    Companies like like Microsoft pay people phenomenal amounts to stop him doing what he does, and if he is able to point out that they aren't doing their job without actively causing harm to the company they should be kissing his damn feet not trying to pout him in the slammer. Not to mention if he doesn't go to jail he will be now more likely to share the info he has on how to access these issues with some less than friendly hackers who will use it to do great harm to the company.

      Just because he doesn't have the foresight to see that his actions cause damage doesn't mean they don't. As for why he's a criminal, you may not be aware that when you perform a criminal act, that makes you a criminal. Unauthorised access to a computer system is just one example of criminal activity he admits to.

        Nonetheless, there is a big difference between someone who is a criminal because of a broad reaching or ill specified law and someone who was intended to be stopped, due to harm caused, by well written law.

        This is why you often hear legislators and police in the area of computer crime making statements on the difficulty of writing laws in this new area. Often they don't know quite as much on the subject as NGO's or individuals already involved in the task, so to ask them to target just the ones who harm people (ie credit card fraudsters, blackmailers) is problematic.

          True, but I don't think theft and sale of confidential information is an area of ill-defined or poorly written law. Just looking at how much money is spent on patents and the protection of innovation and feature development (see Apple and Samsung, in particular) should make it clear that despite what some people think, information in the corporate world is extremely valuable and can make or break the future of a company in relation to its competitors. People who look at it as just 'he looked at information and never hurt anyone' are either naive or blinded to the real scope of damage this kind of thing can do.

            But the whole point is he did not sell the information.

              You know this how?

              Yeah, even worst, he gave it away to a blog site "Kotaku". What if he gave this sensitive information to a competitor. You can ruin a company like that.

            exactly.
            what he has done is classed as corporate espionage. even though he may not have had malicious intent, he still gained access to several company servers illegally. personally, i don't think what he has done is worthy of jail time, but if found guilty, a monetary punishment should suffice. $50,000 and a 5 year ban from all internet capable devices. a sentence like that isn't a life ruiner, but surely enough to make you think twice before doing it again.

      He was responsible for leaking stolen documents though, by his own admission. And all the unauthorised access that he was previously boasting about.

      "Companies like like Microsoft pay people phenomenal amounts to stop him doing what he does"

      Yes, they do - and we the consumer pay for it with inflated prices. There were no victims? How about every gamer having to shell out money to pay for Dylan's personal entertainment?

      Dylan didn't victimize faceless corporations, he victimized real human beings around the world who have to pay for his idle curiosity.

      For someone who doesn't have to work due to chronic pain, he sure spends a lot of his time doing things he could be paid for - so he's also defrauding the Australian taxpayer.

      Lock his lazy, lying, unethical, amoral, self-entitled, dump-ass up.

        No, he did us a favour by showing we are paying those already inflated prices for a system that obviously is not working and then he tried to help them fix those problems, I don't see how his actions are a negative impacts on the consumer

          You're arguing cause and effect as if this was the chicken and the egg - you new to logic? Because you don't quite have the hang of it.

      Hang on a second- he has unlawfully gained access to something that is not supposed to. Thats the heart of this discussion right?! I cant take your enterprise organisations login (for example) poke around with it then say - well. I didnt cause any harm with it.......

      Thats identity fraud in a degree......?

      Oh come on! I'm against this bully-boy attitude Americanized big business seems to have (here in Australia and overseas), but to try and claim he has done nothing wrong just because he didn't sell it is a bit of a stretch.

      If someone broke into my house and wandered around a bit I wouldn't be so forgiving just because they didn't steal anything,

      As to whether he should go to jail, well that's another story....

      I'm not going to delve into whether it's ok to do what he did, but he's clearly intelligent enough to know that no matter how harmless he may consider his actions this was still the most likely way for this to end (he says as much). Regardless of what he thought of his actions he knew he was playing with fire. He had to know that at least one of these companies were going to react badly.

      He also seems to have misunderstood his relationship with Microsoft. He sees his actions as neutral but it's still a tense relationship for Microsoft. They don't want him there but they're stuck between legal action that could make things very messy and letting him run free on their network. As nice as I'm sure they were to him he essentially had them at gun point with a bunch of info to blackmail them with.
      He turns around and tells them 'you should be able to figure this out yourself' when in all likelihood they could, but the reason they're talking to him is that they want to know exactly what he knows. When he stopped co-operating 100% he put them in a position where they were forced to deal with it. They could have said 'ok, if you're not going to help us please stay out or we'll have to take action', but I don't think that would have kept him out and as reasonable as he sounds they'd have to at least consider the possibility that the 'threat' of legal action would set off a bad reaction.

      I feel pretty bad for him since I haven't seen anything that indicates that he's a bad guy, and I'm hoping he stays true to that and gets out of it without going to prison, but he's spent years running around in a minefield knowing that exactly this situation may occur.

    To most Americans, most Australians don't actually sound like "Australians"...... Or, what they think we sound like.

    In other words, if you don't talk like steve irwin...... For the rest of us that don't live in the north-east, we just sound English

      I dont know any Aussies that sound like poms.

        I'm an Aussie and I sound like a pom

        Some people really cant tell the difference.
        I'm Aussie and I was sitting in a bar in Orlando talking to an English colleague after a conference when the American girl next to us mentioned she loved our accent. As I asked which one to which she replied, "arent they the same".

      It's true. I'm from SA and I know we have a bit of a rep for having something akin to a posh accent here (not like that godawful Julia Gillard sounding accent infecting the entirety of the East Coast! :p), but all through my travels in the US last year, particularly in California and Texas, we were instantly assumed to be British. Some of our crew was from Sydney and sounded much more okka than the rest of us, but the Seppos couldn't tell the difference 9 times out of 10. Hawaii was different. So many Australian tourists, we were ID'ed immediately.

    "“I was treated like a criminal,” he complained to me, looking back at the raid."

    Only because you are one.

    “However, how I see it is [that] I am someone curious with information and obsessed with owning everything that I otherwise shouldn’t.”

    In other words, you're a thief. That's the word we usually use for people who try to 'own things' they're not entitled to.

      Exactly. And he WAS damaging these companies, he leaked the fucking specs for crying out loud! Leaking confidential information DOES harm companies!

      He's such a stooge to think he's innocent.

    A white hat hacker who wants to be heard by people who understand him.
    I feel sorry for him, but end of the day the law is the law, break it and pay for it.

    I would be interested in his development, from court to sentencing (if found guilty). Some times as good intentions as people have the law is just harsh, you could get 10 years for killing someone but be hanged and executed for posting a naked picture of our prime minister (just exaggerating for those who believe that)

    Interesting read though.

      If he was white hat he would have leaked no information to the public. He would have contacted these companies privately and assisted in the repairs of their network.
      Instead he gives himself a publicly identifiable handle, leaks information for his own glory and then whinges when he is treated like the criminal he is.

    I hope this guy suffers and is made an example of. I have no sympathy for these hacker types.

    I hope he gets a fair trial within Australia and a fair sentence.
    He'll be sent to the US though, rip you poor bastard.

      I doubt he'll be extradited to the US as the crimes committed were not committed against the country in question, nor were they federal offences against the country/state. Don't get me wrong, he did some serious S&^t but not enough to get booted from Australia.

    Wow, great read.

    I wish Mr Dylan the best of luck.

    “I was treated like a criminal,” Uhm, well, he kind of is...he did hack into Epic...and Valve...and Microsoft...and openly admitted it...

    Considering how much our government kisses the USA's arse, I wouldn't be surprised if he is extradited to the USA and charged as an Adult (he is apparently 17).

    Because harming a multi-million dollar company in the USA is worse than murder, expect him to be locked to for a crazy amount of time.

    What he has done is wrong and against the law, not many people would disagree with that. It's just that the penalty for his crimes will no doubt be ridiculously over the top.

    is the australian spelling of gaol supposed to evoke anything?

    I know for sure he is lying about having a dev kit. It takes a hell of a lot more than ordering one from the website. He is so full of crap, at most he hacked a developer & stole the documents, the rest is 100% embellished. I hope he enjoys prison.

    Guys, guys, I think you're all missing the point.

    SLEEPING DOGS 2.

      Yeah, this was a really unusual announcement article. Totilo must have been feeling creative.

    I like to look at it this way, he's distraught that they raided his house, as he should, and even if the police/FBI didn't do anything with the information they recovered he'd still be more then a little miffed that hey raided his house, so now he knows what it's like to have someone walk in uninvited and just take your stuff as they see fit.

    I don't care how curious you are, you don't just pick the lock and take a walk around the digital equivalent of someones house, it's a breech of privacy and makes the other person more than a little uncomfortable. If I had a guy following me around 24/7 with a gun to my head, regardless of whether or not he's gonna pull the trigger, I'm not gonna be able to feel safe in my own home.

    what he did was ignorant and frankly he should be ashamed that he sees no problem with it.

    He needs to go to jail, he's a criminal.

    Good to see justice is done.

    I'm off to go download some TV shows, toodle-pip.

    Am I doing it right, guys?

    I like how he faces 20 years in jail for "misuse of a computer".

    You can beat the shit out of someone unprovoked and merely get a good behaviour bond. Hell, you can murder someone and you'll get a lighter sentence than this. What a fucking joke.

      Where did you get 20 years from?

      Maximum penalty for a serious hacking offence is 10 years, with lesser offences ranging from 2-3 years (source: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Criminal_Code_Act_1995_(Australia)/Chapter_10/10.7).

    For the people that don't think the guy did anything wrong....

    Would you think the same if someone came into your house or your business, took a good look around at your belongings and gave the details to other people?

    The guy is smart. Smart enough to know what he was doing is illegal.

      ^this
      Would you buy a new Xbox360 if you knew Durango was just around the corner? He's damaged sales; PR; marketing impact; and allowed competitors access to specs through publishing these details. He's an idiot, and he should be charged accordingly.

        Yeah it's TERRIBLE. Microsoft will lose MILLIONS.

        How about you two use your brain rather than parroting Atlas Shrugged.

        He hasn't cost anyone anything of consequence. What he HAS done has SAVED them from potentially being reamed by someone who would in fact cost them millions.

        Rhavon's awful analogy would be more like you returning to your work or business and some guy sitting on the doorstep saying 'Hey you went out and left all your windows and doors unlocked I think you ought to not do that'.

          Glad you are hear to dictate what people should call "of consequence".
          Sorry - that is not up for you to decide.
          There are laws in place to prevent exactly what this guy did.
          Intent will be taken into consideration during sentencing, but it will not in any way influence the judgement of guilt.
          Personally, I find it sad. A bloke ruined his own life. But then, all the decisions were his to make.

    I don't see why he is so surprised that the authorities don't take kindly to his poking around in the servers of private companies. Sure he says he didn't mean any harm. Sure, he says that he didn't hurt anyone. But how are we to know? How do we know that he didn't steal more sensitive information?

    There's a reason why electronic trespassing is a crime, even if you don't intend any harm. The law says that you can't just break into people's stuff, no matter what your intentions are, because we don't know your intentions.

    This guy seems young and bright though, and jail seems too harsh. Should he be penalized? Yes, but maybe just give him a fine, community service, or, at the very most, a month or two in jail with the knowledge that if he gets into this stuff again, he'll be sent away for a longer time.

    And don't defend him by saying "Freedom of Information". If he was hacking Syria or the US government or the Russian government for information on military affairs, abuses of power or fraud, then there's some nobility to his actions. But he wasn't. He was hacking private companies to find out secrets, trade secrets, secrets which companies have a right to keep. He wasn't some folk-hero trying to help people, he's just a nosy kid who stuck his head where it didn't belong.

    Still, he IS just a nosy kid. Don't send him to jail for that. Or if you send him to jail, give him a token sentence.

    The saddest part about this, he found no information on Half Life 3 :(

      Hahahaha

    if he gets picked up for the security company or any other bigtime comp, he might just develop the same curiosity and head down the same road. only this time with irresponsibility, criminal activity, untrustworthy, etc added to his resume. better bet might be a game company--hopefully one that gives out beta freebies to its crew so to lessen the chance of the above...

    but who knows, work in a group big enough, interesting enough and might just find a separate calling in life. (remember the book where the gamer became a surgeon? favourite bit was that it was also kinda following in daddy's footprints) that plus, having that job that saps up all your time and thinking power, all but takes away the thoughts for misc. individual activity altogether, yah?

    Yeah yeah he's a terrible criminal boo hoo.
    The real crime is he's going to get an awful, awful sentence while killing a dude or even multiple dudes can and has netted a lower sentence.

    (Yes I'm jumping the gun, yes someone's already commented on these lines but damn it, how is taking a life less bad than this?)

    I was interested until he said:
    'This raid was a result from the Aussie police kissing America's ass'
    It seems that when anyone has committed a crime thesedays, and is afraid of being punished, they automatically use the 'People are kissing the USA's ass' argument.
    (Yes that was directed at Mr Assange)

      You should follow the news more.
      Assange did have significant pollitical pressure thrown at him due to his ticking of the USA.
      SuperDaE is clearly a matter of political influence, due to the FBI agent attending the search.
      Just across the Tasmin we have the NZ police messing with Kim Dotcom (with FBI presence) because (you guessed it) he angered USA big business. (and as it turns out, their case is full of holes, but they are keeping it going as long as possible in the hope of destroying Dotcom).

      The unfortunate truth is that the USA like to throw their wieght around, and the Australian government just loves to kiss their arse. If this was not a matter of ass kissing it would not have had FBI presence (It may have had ASIS or AFP)

        Even if it is a case of the USA throwing their weight around, if someone has broken a law, they need to be punished.

    This article brings up some interesting issues.

    Is he a Criminal? Yes, straight up yes. Much like the guy who does 10kph over the speed limit when there are no people around he is breaking the law.

    Did he wish to cause harm? Well I'm going to say I believe he did not.

    Does a crime like this deserve jail? No, I don't believe so. He is not dangerous to the community or individuals, he's not a Drug Dealer, he's a kid who lacked wisdom. A better punishment would be something like 1000 hours of community service. jail should only be used for violent dangerous offenders. Not a guy who cyber-trespasses, not a guy who speeds, not a guy who fails to pay his child support. All crimes, none worthy of jail.

    People are kissing the USA's Ass Argument. Was the USA kissing Australia's Arse when they sent a US solider back here for a trial? People in the US thought so. It's a weak argument that has no real factual basis. We live in a global society, you can't commit a crime against one nation and hide in another one. Especially when the nations are on friendly terms with one another. You can't commit a crime and expect to get away with it, just because it was in another country.

    He's a teenager and not fully done yet. He did commit a crime, but it wasn't with malice. While he is very very intelligent he's not wise yet. Wisdom comes from living and he hasn't really done any. I hope he doesn't get jail time, he needs to learn a lesson from this experience but I don't think jail will teach him the right one. His talents could be used as a massive force of good if cultivated and not beaten down.

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