KEY POINTS

  • The FBI have arrested two members of The Xecuter abroad last month
  • The group is known for their videogame exploits that allow users to play pirated copies of games
  • Max Louarn and Gary Bowser will each face 11 counts of felony 

Two members of an infamous piracy group have been arrested for their involvement in developing and selling illegal devices that hack popular videogame consoles.

French national Max Louarn, 48, and Canadian Gary Bowser, 51, were arrested abroad last month and charged with 11 felony counts including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and to traffic in circumvention devices, trafficking in circumvention devices and conspiracy to commit money laundering, the Department of Justice said.

Shenzhen, China resident Yuanning Chen, 35, was also charged alongside Louarn and Bowser.

The Nintendo Switch has proved popular since launching in 2017 but the firm said it has entered a 'crucial' fourth year The Nintendo Switch has proved popular since launching in 2017 but the firm said it has entered a ‘crucial’ fourth year Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

The federal indictment, which was unsealed Friday, October 2, alleged that the defendants are leaders of Team Xecuter, one of the world’s most notorious videogame hacking groups that manufactures illegal devices for videogame consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, 3DS, Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, Sony PlayStation Classic and Microsoft Xbox.

These devices, the DOJ added, will enable users to play “unauthorized or pirated copies of videogames” for their units. Two lawsuits were filed by Nintendo back in May that aimed to stop a number of resellers that allegedly sells a Team Xecuter-made hack.

The SX Pro is a “Switch modification device” in the form of a USB that allows users to install a custom “SX OS” on their Nintendo Switch from a memory card. When installed, users can virtually play “any pirated game” that’s made for the console, “all without authorization or paying a dime to Nintendo or to any of the large number of authorized game publishers making games for Nintendo Switch,” the lawsuit explained, through Polygon.

The lawsuit further explained that the group was on the verge of releasing new hacking devices, the SX Core and SX Lite. These can install the SX OS on any Switch console, including those with updated chipsets, said Ars Technica.

“Imagine if something you invented was stolen from you and then marketed and sold to customers around the world. That is exactly what Team Xecuter was doing.

“This is a perfect example of why the FBI ha made the prevention of the theft of intellectual property a priority. These arrests should send a message to would-be pirates that the FBI does not consider these crimes to be a game,” said Special Agent in Charge Raymond Duda in the release.

 

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