An Australian man has been arrested following a six-month investigation into accusations of selling League of Legends player data to the highest bidder. While 21-year old Shane Duffy is keeping quiet, his mother Leah claims he didn’t do it.
The FBI were involved in the Australian investigation, which reportedly shows Duffy hacking into a Riot Games server, accessing and harvesting confidential player data, and then selling it. Police claim Duffy made up to AU$1000 per day with the scam, which ran for months.
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad, says the case – which sees Duffy facing numerous charges – “challenged the mythology” and the romanticism that surrounds hackers.
When you get the imagery that a skilled hacker has to be in a major city with a big bank of computers and sophisticated file servers surrounding them in a little bungalow … we are talking about a 21-year-old living with his mother and family with a laptop.
While Duffy may have accessed all sorts of information, he was primarily interested in just one thing: IP addresses. The story goes, Duffy created a paid service that would allow other gamers to access Riot‘s database of player IPs. This information could later be used to launch DDOS attacks against the victims, knocking them offline and generally causing a nuisance. Police claim that Duffy received more than 800 separate payments for access to the information, in the past month alone. (Police have not confirmed whether or not Duffy also carried out DDOS attacks.)
Local media claims Duffy reportedly accessed databases and files belonging to Riot Games between July 14 and 26 2013, and allegedly hacked the company’s Twitter account before using it to post confidential information and screenshots.
But Shane’s mother Leah disagrees, saying her son is not guilty of all charges.
Shane’s capable, but then the information he had and accessed was freely available on the internet. Somebody else has thrown the database out there.
Leah alleges that her son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, stopped going to school in year 4 because the Queensland education system “did not want him”. Since then, he’s stayed at home, teaching himself all about computers and technology, with Leah claiming her son has more computer hijacking knowledge than the best cyber detectives.
Duffy heads to the Maryborough Magistrates Court on April 8th, to answer three counts of computer hacking and misuse, two counts of fraud (dishonestly apply property to own use), two counts of fraud (dishonestly obtain property from another) and one count of fraud (dishonestly cause detriment and possessing equipment for purpose of committing/facilitating the commission of an offence).