South Korean Overwatch hacker handed suspended prison sentence

It's part of an ongoing investigation in South Korea.

Image via Blizzard Entertaintment

An Overwatch hack creator in South Korea could face jail time after violating the Game Industry Promotion Law and Information and Communication Technology Protection Law.

A 28-year old man was handed a suspended one-year prison sentence and two year’s probation, according to South Korean news broadcaster SBS News. The hacker reportedly collected a large sum of money in exchange for the program—200 million won, or around $180,000, SBS News said.

Related: New South Korean bill could send boosters to jail

Two other Overwatch hackers were sentenced earlier this year; one received two years probation and another was fined 10 million won, or $10,000. Thirteen hackers and match-fixers were arrested in January by South Korean police, but the remaining 10 still await sentencing.

The most recent sentencing from the Icheon District Court garnered a harsher punishment due to the large profit accrued over a fairly long period of time, according to SBS News.

Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment has been working with the Seoul National Police Agency’s cyber security department to catch illegal program developers in South Korea. A violation to the Game Industry Promotion Law and Information and Communication Technology Protection Law warrants a maximum punishment of two years in jail and a $18,000 fine, thanks to a June 2017 amendment to the law.

Boosting, match-fixing, and hacking is serious business in South Korea. There’s a lot of money to be made with these illegal programs, and game access from gaming cafés makes it challenging to track accounts. But a February 2017 change to Overwatch access for PC bangs—Korean gaming centers—made it a bit tougher to cheat undetected. Blizzard now requires players to enter a Korean social security number to log into Overwatch without a license. Players using foreign accounts will need a paid license for Overwatch to access the game in PC bangs.

But players across the world still misuse Overwatch, and the developer continues to ban players in droves. Bad behavior in Overwatch has even touched the highest level of the game, Blizzard’s Overwatch League. Multiple players in the Overwatch League have been punished for boosting, which is the act of playing on a lesser skilled player’s account to “boost” them to a higher rank in-game.

A Dallas Fuel player, Son “OGE” Min-seok, was suspended for four games for boosting, while Philadelphia Fusion tank Kim “Sado” Su-min was suspended for 30 games for more serious allegations of the same offense.

H/T OverwatchNaeri

Correction 3:43am CT June 26, 2018: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the hacker had been handed a prison sentence, rather than a suspended prison sentence. The story has been updated to reflect this. We regret the error.