Man Steals MMO Source Code, Threatens Creator, Makes Rip-Off
A man allegedly hacked an MMO, stole its source code, created a clone of it, then attempted to blackmail the original game’s developer.
As the story goes, 24 year old Dutch national Anil Kheda and a number of co-conspirators illegally accessed the servers for the text-based MMO Outwar, developed by Rampid Interactive LLC. According to the indictment, in 2007 and 2008, Kheda and others used this illegal access to restore the accounts of suspended players, gain unearned points, and even steal the game’s source code. They then used this source code to create a clone of the game, naming it Outcraft. How clever.
The hack resulted in Outwar being unplayable for nearly two weeks, which cost Rampid $100,000 in lost revenue, wages, hosting costs, as well as the exclusive use of its proprietary source code. The price tag on that source code? Approximately $1.5 million in development costs.
Outwar had more than 75,000 player worldwide, while the the Outcraft rip-off had only 10,000 players and only earned $10,000 in profit. Aside from the theft, Kheda also threatened Rampid. “Don’t reply to this e-mail and you are gonna wish you picked one of the other options,” he wrote, demanding that the developer restore his account or pay him $1,500.
After an FBI investigation, Kheda is currently being prosecuted by the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. If convicted, Kheda could face a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and another two years for the interstate threat charge.
The indictment further noted that Kheda had an accomplice who was identified as a juvenile residing in the UK. Kheda called his accomplice a “noob snitch” in an e-mail.