Nintendo Switch Hacker Busted, Also Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges

Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty

21 year-old Ryan Hernandez, aka Ryan West, plead guilty last week in a U.S. District Court in Seattle to charges related to the 2016 theft of “confidential Nintendo files related to its consoles and games”. When his home was raided by the FBI last year, though, they also found “more than one thousand videos and images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

Hernandez was first caught in 2017, after he and a friend got hold of a Nintendo employee’s “credentials”, which as this US Attorney’s Office report says let them download “stolen information, including pre-release information about the anticipated Nintendo Switch console”, which would later be leaked to the public ahead of the system’s launch.

The FBI turned up to Hernandez’s house in October 2017, and in front of both agents and his parents he “promised to stop any further malicious activity and confirmed that he understood the consequences of any future hacking”.

A year later though he was back at it, “hacking into multiple Nintendo servers and stealing confidential information about various popular video games, gaming consoles, and developer tools”. Hernandez was even publicly bragging about it now on platforms such as Twitter, and ran a Discord called “Ryan’s Underground Hangout” where “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”.

This led to a raid in June 2019 on Hernandez’s home, where the FBI not only found storage containing “thousands of confidential Nintendo files” and hardware used to play pirated games, but also evidence that he had a big collection of child pornography “sorted in a folder directory he labelled ‘Bad Stuff.’”

Because Hernandez plead guilty to the Nintendo-related and child pornography charges—both federal crimes—prosecutors and his defence attorneys are recommending he spend three years in jail. He could, however, serve up to 25 years if the judge sees fit, given the magnitude of the possession of child pornography charges.

He has agreed to pay $US259,323 ($387,478) to Nintendo, and will now also have to register as a sex offender.


    Stupid enough to ignore the FBI's warning, as well as the other sh**? He must be a religious conservative.

      I.. think they're just another self-entitled, idiotic youth of today that believes they're bulletproof and that nothing they do has ramifications.

    Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier then...

    how does a hacker who made it into nintendo servers not store things in "bad" sectors or something at the very least. it sounds like he wanted to go prison.

    I mean good because of CP, but jesus dude, ruined his life at 21 .... just to get some internet clout.

    So, the first time around, he used some stolen credentials to gain access to Nintendo's network.

    What did he use the second time? Nintendo IT staff (and the account owner) can't be stupid enough to leave the same credentials. Something doesn't quite seem right about this story.

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