Famous Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox videogame hacker gang leaders arrested

Two of the leading operators of the “Team Xecuter” video game hacking group have been arrested, a report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) mentions. The individuals are Max Louarn, a French citizen and Gary Bowser, born in Canada. A Chinese-origin man named Yuanning Chen was also identified as a member of the hacking group.  

The defendants have been singled out as leaders of Team Xecuter, who for years have developed illegal hardware and software tools to hack video game consoles such as Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, in addition to the different versions of PlayStation and Xbox.

Defendants face charges for up to 11 crimes considered serious, including conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, electronic fraud, electronic device trafficking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Louarn was arrested abroad, so the U.S. government will begin an extradition process, while Bowser was arrested and deported by the Authorities of the Dominican Republic. Chen remains fugitive from the law.

According to the DOJ report, Louarn is responsible for financing the hacking group’s operations, while Bowser was in charge of developing and marketing evasion devices for the most popular consoles, as well as being in charge of managing some websites operated by Team Xecuter.  

Team Xecuter operators used encrypted media such as Signal and Telegram to protect their projects from law enforcement agencies and even other piracy groups. Hackers also implemented multiple security measures to keep their servers hidden.

About seven years ago, video game hackers began selling their devices using various names such as Gateway 3DS, Stargate, TrueBlue Mini, Classic2Magic, among others. Brian Rabbitt, deputy attorney general of the DOJ, said: “The individuals arrested are singled out as the main operators of an international group dedicated to video game piracy, severely affecting American companies.

The official mentions that the DOJ will hold actors accountable for threats seeking to generate profits by committing the intellectual property of legitimate companies regardless of the source of the attacks.