Blizzard Korea helps Seoul cyber crime police arrest 13 Overwatch hackers and cheaters

    
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Big help.

The MOP comment crew was understandably creeped out by last week’s news that Tencent was going after PlayerUnknown’s Battleground cheaters by working with the Chinese police, leading to the arrest of 120 people in 30 cases. But Tencent isn’t alone; Blizzard is also getting in on the law enforcement fun, most recently in Korea, where its Korean wing has referred 13 people to Seoul’s National Policy Agency cyber crime unit for arrest in Overwatch hacking and cheating crimes.

As Dot Esports and Blizzard Watch report, this isn’t a first for South Korea; at least one teen has already been charged under the so-called “Game Industry Promotion Law,” which permits two years of prison time and up to $18,000 in fines for those convicted.

Here’s Blizzard Korea’s message to its players, as translated by Unikrn:

“Blizzard had requested a through investigation to the Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department regarding the domestic illegal program developers in the black market that include hacking and match-fixing. The investigation has lasted 1 year from January 2017 to December 2017. After a long period of examination a total of 13 suspects have been sent to the public prosecutor’s office under allegations of violating the Game Industry Promotion Law and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) protection Law.”

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

I certainly wasn’t creeped out. I was happy and wished that kind of stuff would happen more often. I’m sick of them getting away with this stuff with little bans of accounts at most, to which they just keep doing it over and over and over again and again. They ruin games, they destroy what my money is worth to spend in these games since they do better just by cheating, they laugh and just continue to do it on and on with no consequences. They finally get some consequences some places and people are creeped out why exactly? Because a company is working with the authorities to help them be caught and stopped?

These companies aren’t writing the law nor enforcing their will. I don’t understand why people would be “creeped out” by this. If Walmart is working with Police to catch people who steal or vandalize their stores, nobody is creeped out by that, why is it different when a game company is trying to stop illegal behavior and protect their properties and paying customers?

I wish this stuff was taken this seriously in the US.

Anyway not all of us are “creeped out”. You may not have paid close enough attention to the comments to see the split, a great many of us are happy and supportive of this stuff.

Little bans aren’t getting the job done. It’s time to move on to more serious application of laws and punishments and I’m more than happy to see this happening.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

These Asian countries sure takes cheaters/hackers seriously there.

But then again, serious gaming means serious money which mean serious punishment for anyone interfering with the gravy train.

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Kayweg

My two questions would be, do the cheaters gain an economic benefit from their actions, and if so, do their actions cause economic damage to others ?
If the answer to both is yes, then how does that not constitute a crime ?
We may need to move away from that slightly naive “just a computer game” argument, and realize that a multi-billion dollar industry, which the gaming industry has become, will attract criminal elements from the outside and foster them from within.
And not just individuals but also highly organized groups of people.
Crime can and will flourish wherever it can be profitable, including gaming, we need to rethink our definitions.

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Connor

People also need to recognize that it isn’t just “cheating in video games.’ The people they arrest are making a ton of money off of directly sabotaging other businesses. Even years ago, this kid they arrested who ran a RuneScape bot was living in a $1 million mansion.

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Zora

Our P.K.Dick-inspired future is here and we didn’t get warned about it…

Alexa, am I right or what uh? Alexa, why are you beeping red?

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Melissa McDonald

I’m gonna cuss. Arresting someone for cheating in a bloody video game is horse shit.

Try policing real crimes, why don’tcha.

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Brother Maynard

Exactly. It’s ridiculous. Cheating in an online game as a criminal offense? Give me a break… The effort to privatise public service for the good of a few continues. God forbid that a large coproration like Activision takes a hit to its bottom line because of a few gamers – send in the army!

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

the blurb from blizzard suggests that this isn’t just a few dumbasses using cheat programs, it’s the people MAKING them.
the kind of people you can’t just ban, because the things they’ve doing to undermine the quality of your game is done outside it. the Law is really the only thing properly equipped to shut them down.

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Daniel Miller

This happened down the street from my house

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A Dad Supreme

I think this causes more of an uproar in the US, Canada and Britian than in South Korea, as well as other Asian countries.

South Koreans by and large as a society don’t mind law and order and generally don’t like other people cheating or breaking rules, and already have a different tolerance for those who break the rules commonly accepted in a homogeneous society.

These kind of stories mostly irritate Westerners who don’t understand their acceptance for the “harsh laws” for gaming, because we generally have far more lax laws for many other things Koreans and others view as far more serious.

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Knox Harrington

What bothers me as a Westerner is Big Government once again sticking its nose into every facet of life. I value freedom and liberty above all else so long as what I do doesn’t affect the freedom and liberty of others. Obviously, there’s a grey area there with video games. Are cheaters victimizing the rest of the gaming world to the extent that government interference is absolutely necessary? Or perhaps gaming companies are tired of committing resources to the perpetual whack-a-mole game of catching and punishing cheaters so they’d rather bring in the government to do their job for them. When I see this sort of thing happening with something as innocuous as a hobby like gaming, I wonder what’s to come next in this growing Orwellian nightmare.

On the other hand, maybe the government coming after cheating consumers might lead to them going after companies that cheat their consumers with lockboxes etc because it’s become obvious that consumers are just too weak to stop buying them. That’s one of the downsides of letting a free market decide because humans seem inclined to decide against their own interests. But do I hate lockboxes enough to hope for the government to extend its reach once again? I think I might have to return to a place of stoicism before I let my emotions get the better of me on that one. Maybe those so deeply affected by cheaters in gaming should do the same before this precedence being established in the East makes it way West.

Veldan
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Veldan

It’s simple. Government can provide what the gaming companies cannot: actual punishment. Cheater gets banned? Oh wow, the horror. The worst case scenario is that he needs to re-buy the game, effectively paying a fine of $60 or so. This never prevented anyone from cheating. Lawmakers can provide far bigger consequences, that are simply needed if we ever want to see cheating reduced.

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Knox Harrington

I’d rather not see cheating reduced than to see the government get further involved. Cheaters have less power (ergo less impact) than the government.

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Armsbend

“I value freedom and liberty above all else so long as what I do doesn’t affect the freedom and liberty of others. Obviously, there’s a grey area there with video games.”

How is there a grey area? It affects the freedom and liberty of everyone else using the product. People are paying money – you are taking away from their enjoyment as well as wasting millions in resources by the parent company. Just because it is a game doesn’t make it a product that isn’t protected by law.

There is no grey. It is black and white.

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Knox Harrington

My question is, is it so bad that the government has to get involved? Can the gaming companies not handle this in-house like they have been?

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

how do you propose the companies stop the hack creators? the best they can do is try to patch it up afterword, but they don’t have the power to do anything to the hacker themselves.

it’s a bit like asking why corner stores don’t take care of vandals smashing all their windows every week on their own – there’s nothing legal they can do to stop it. but they can call up up the cops who can put a stop to it.

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Knox Harrington

They can also lawyer up and sue the vandals. That’s what companies like Blizzard have done against companies that sell bots and hacks etc. Is locking them up in jail really necessary? Sue their pants off, cripple them with fines, but take away their freedom? Over hacking a video game? It seems excessive.

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Scratches

Your disconnect seems to hinge on your notion that video games are still just a “hobby,” and not, in fact, a multi-billion dollar industry.

What these hackers and bot-makers are doing is tantamount to vandalism. That is to say willfully, and with clearly malicious intent, affecting a lawful business enterprise. Which is unlawful. That’s why law enforcement is being brought into the picture…

If you’re a brick & mortar business owner and someone is repeatedly breaking your windows with the clear aim of affecting your business, are you just going to write a strongly-worded letter, sue them in civil court, and try to “cripple them with fines”? Are you really that naïve to think that will deter such a person?

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Armsbend

I’m am not sure. I am not going to put a western value system on a country that does not value the western system. Frankly, the fall of the western world, and it’s governments, is on the way out (my opinion) – so it might be better to ask if we are doing right – not them.

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A Dad Supreme

What bothers me as a Westerner is Big Government once again sticking its nose into every facet of life.

There is no such concept as “Big Government” in the Asian realm.

This is a story about an Asian government (South Korean) working with a private company to stop crime in their country/region, and government is viewed far differently there because of societal norms. People there don’t mind and generally welcome the government to make laws for the whole of society because of group-think/homogeneous racial makeup.

To place your fears of a typical Western “Big Government” into this story isn’t really relevant because circumstances would be totally different. In the US/Western countries, people don’t like the government intervening because there is a broader makeup of individuals who don’t agree as a whole what is “acceptable” regarding social norms.

You might as well say “What’s next? The death penalty for having a pound of weed in the US?”which is not only a real law in those countries but actually welcome and accepted by many of the citizens of those places.

Just because there are laws that you/I may consider harsh or unfair in that region, there isn’t a slippery slope to be had in a totally different judicial system like ours with many numerous avenues of redress (Supreme Court, boycotts, lawsuits, voting out politicians, etc)

Because South Korea has such a huge gaming culture, I’d actually be surprised if people there really objected to this measure rather than actually welcomed it.

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Knox Harrington

Yeah considering how many countries in Asia are Communist or worse, I can’t say I’m surprised they’re okay with having every aspect of their lives policed.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

This should tamp down some of the wags who constantly fume that Blizzard never does anything about cheating.

Esports want to be recognized as legitimate sports. And just like in live-action sports, you have to show that the teams are legit and no cheating is involved. People will cheat if they think they can get away with it. People will cheat if they think the penalties are worth it. This will have a chilling effect on cheaters.

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Tamanous

Real Esports regulation would also put it under government control like real sports which also means gambling and betting. The publishers should really be aware of the can of worms being opened here as their insanely abusive and wide open RMT models will be looked at very, very closely.

They currently seem to be asking for all the benefits of government protection and none of it’s controls.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Governments are already looking at loot boxes as gambling. And there is no doubt that if esports wants to be taken seriously, all the regulating bodies that we are used to in live-action sports are in its future.

Many countries already have laws against the kind of monetization we see in the US, which is why Blizzard and other NA based countries have to do considerable work on their games before releasing them in other parts of the world.

There is huge potential for abuse here, but it isn’t really government oversight that gamers should be worried about, it’s crime organizations. There are billions of dollars in gaming that is just ripe for the taking and eventually the huge worldwide crime organizations will figure out how to get in on it, if they haven’t already.

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Knox Harrington

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Tamanous

S.H.A.T. Special Hacking and Tactics force. Pretty soon abused by Shatting calls when false claims sends Blizzard S.H.A.T to your doorstep.