Members of piracy group Team Xecuter were charged with 11 felony counts

erek

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"The Justice Department tries to emphasize the difference between Xecuter’s activities and not-for-profit emulation or console hacking. The release says Xecuter “attempted to protect its overall business by using a wide variety of brands, websites, and distribution channels, according to the indictment,” and that the group “cloaked its illegal activity with a purported desire to support gaming enthusiasts who wanted to design their own videogames for noncommercial use.” But the primary purpose of the group’s activities was to develop and sell for-profit tools for running pirated games, and additionally to help “create and support online libraries of pirated videogames.”

Both men face severe prison time if convicted, including 20 years for each charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, with up to five years for some of the lesser charges. No trial date has been set."


https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/2/...selling-nintendo-hacks-arrested-charged-fraud
 

MavericK

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Aren't they the ones who do the SX stuff? I've got one of the loaders for Switch.
 

RanceJustice

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Quite insane they're up for such potential penalties, not to mention that unless there's way more to the story things like "wire fraud" don't begin to describe selling modding/hacking or even piracy-enabling accessories.

I'm not a huge fan of TX in regard to their Switch endeavors for a number of reasons, notably their proprietary SX OS (which uses a lot of open source code from the open switch hacking projects in ways that are violations of the license to lock it down etc), but ultimately they have 2 products last I checked - the SX Pro hardware jig, and the license for their SX OS software. The SX Pro is comparable to any other hardware jig out there and can be used just as easily to load any of the libre CFW loaders like Hekate. The SX OS software has a license key and it enables essentially a CFW that came onto the scene with normal CFW features plus some proprietary elements, though there would be libre alternatives to these (ie XCI loading capability, EmuMMC etc) in other projects. Atop this they offered several cost-free software accessories such as a loader for game images and the like, suspected to be very similar or possibly forked from other projects like Tinfoil or Goldleaf.

While TX is rather shifty as the scene goes for its pay elements and questionable relationship with libre software, it isn't like their "side" of things are necessarily any "worse" than the libre alternatives in in terms of function. Unless they stupidly put a lot of Nintendo specific code into it or made similar mistakes, its functionality isn't much beyond the open source Atmosphere / Hekate and other libre Switch hacking projects. Perhaps they advertised too close to what sounds like "easy piracy", but even at their shifty-ist, I can't imagine they deserve the kind of charges levied against them as described! Once again we see an international manhunt for piracy instead of using those resources on more serious crimes, including harmful white-collar elements. What a waste.

I should also comment that we should look at how inane it is that "consoles" with these kinds of restrictions exist, as opposed to open PC or even mobile platforms like Android. This is the problem with allowing a proprietary box that you buy but don't own, where Nintendo / Sony / Microsoft or whomever limits what you can do with it. Failure to comply means the chance they'll hardware ban you, for the equivalent of using custom firmware , jailbreaking, rooting, or sideloading applications! This is why we must resist the "consolization" of PC platforms and things like store exclusivity (Epic Store most notably) or cloud-dependency, ceding so much control to the platform. We don't need those kinds of restrictions to encroach on the PC and I look forward to the day when a "console" is just a prefab SFF gaming-configured PC.
 

DukenukemX

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I don't get in what they did was illegal. "The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of videogames." How is it illegal devices? Has it gotten to the point where I can't even modify the hardware I own to do what I please with it? There was an arguement that DVD burning can be used for piracy and nobody got arrested. There's a lot of homebrew on the Switch so the argument that this was used for piracy exclusively is just Nintendo flexing it's money muscle.

 

Meeho

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Both men face severe prison time if convicted, including 20 years for each charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, with up to five years for some of the lesser charges. No trial date has been set."
If only they'd murdered someone, they would face lesser charges.
 

sfsuphysics

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I don't get in what they did was illegal. "The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of videogames." How is it illegal devices? Has it gotten to the point where I can't even modify the hardware I own to do what I please with it? There was an arguement that DVD burning can be used for piracy and nobody got arrested. There's a lot of homebrew on the Switch so the argument that this was used for piracy exclusively is just Nintendo flexing it's money muscle.
I think it's some DMCA nonsense that basically makes circumventing any sort of copy protection in itself an illegal act. So they weren't handing out pirated games, but they made a device to do something that was by definition illegal. I could be totally wrong on this too mind you, but I seem to recall that was a huge thorn that sticks through of that horrible legislation.
 

Derangel

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I don't get in what they did was illegal. "The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of videogames." How is it illegal devices? Has it gotten to the point where I can't even modify the hardware I own to do what I please with it? There was an arguement that DVD burning can be used for piracy and nobody got arrested. There's a lot of homebrew on the Switch so the argument that this was used for piracy exclusively is just Nintendo flexing it's money muscle.


There's a difference between burning a DVD and selling a device who's sole purpose is to break, legally protected, copyright protections on that disc. You can modify the system yourself and use it for yourself. You cannot, however, then turn around and sell the tools and hardware used to do it. This has been illegal since the DMCA was created. R4 chips for the various Gameboy and DS systems are illegal and Nintendo fought them for years. However, it wouldn't have been illegal to make something like that for yourself. A lot of the modding and homebrew stuff for consoles it entirely opensource and free to try and skirt around the legalities. Then you get the Team Xecuter d-bags who steal all that work and turn it around to make a profit and bring Nintendo's attention, and ire, onto those scenes. Fuck these assholes, they've had this coming for a long time.
 

Meeho

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There's a difference between burning a DVD and selling a device who's sole purpose is to break, legally protected, copyright protections on that disc. You can modify the system yourself and use it for yourself. You cannot, however, then turn around and sell the tools and hardware used to do it. This has been illegal since the DMCA was created. R4 chips for the various Gameboy and DS systems are illegal and Nintendo fought them for years. However, it wouldn't have been illegal to make something like that for yourself. A lot of the modding and homebrew stuff for consoles it entirely opensource and free to try and skirt around the legalities. Then you get the Team Xecuter d-bags who steal all that work and turn it around to make a profit and bring Nintendo's attention, and ire, onto those scenes. Fuck these assholes, they've had this coming for a long time.
Oh, no, not poor Nintendo! They barely survived those vicious pirate attacks. It's almost like for a good business, piracy is just background noise.
 

dr.stevil

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I don't get in what they did was illegal. "The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of videogames." How is it illegal devices? Has it gotten to the point where I can't even modify the hardware I own to do what I please with it? There was an arguement that DVD burning can be used for piracy and nobody got arrested. There's a lot of homebrew on the Switch so the argument that this was used for piracy exclusively is just Nintendo flexing it's money muscle.


Iirc, their SXOS CFW software used some amount of Nintendo code. All other CFW requires you to jump thru hoops to get decryption keys yourself where with SXOS it was built in... Truely a plug and play OS, but that’s likely what brought this on them. TX also charged money for SXOS as well
 

Derangel

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Oh, no, not poor Nintendo! They barely survived those vicious pirate attacks. It's almost like for a good business, piracy is just background noise.

So they’re not allowed to protect their IP from legitimate copyright infringement? They should just allow this to run wild without countering it? Why are you so against a company actually using the DMCA for what it was meant to do? This isn’t (another) case of them being dicks to fan projects or open source work, this is a legit case against people that deserve to have the book thrown at them. Fuck those greedy, selfish, pieces of shit that do actual harm to the mod and homebrew scenes.
 
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cybereality

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I had one of those cards for the original DS. It was very fun to mess with, but I didn't pirate, I just liked trying homebrew apps.

Things are getting more and more locked down, it's possible in the future there won't be mods anymore (I just hope PC stays open forever).

But we see on consoles (and mobile to a lesser extent) that you are not allowed to do as you please with your own hardware. I think that is a shame.
 

DukenukemX

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There's a difference between burning a DVD and selling a device who's sole purpose is to break, legally protected, copyright protections on that disc. You can modify the system yourself and use it for yourself. You cannot, however, then turn around and sell the tools and hardware used to do it. This has been illegal since the DMCA was created. R4 chips for the various Gameboy and DS systems are illegal and Nintendo fought them for years. However, it wouldn't have been illegal to make something like that for yourself. A lot of the modding and homebrew stuff for consoles it entirely opensource and free to try and skirt around the legalities. Then you get the Team Xecuter d-bags who steal all that work and turn it around to make a profit and bring Nintendo's attention, and ire, onto those scenes. Fuck these assholes, they've had this coming for a long time.
But you can use it for homebrew as well. A lot of people do use it for piracy but that's what majority of people did with DVD burners as well.
 

Derangel

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But you can use it for homebrew as well. A lot of people do use it for piracy but that's what majority of people did with DVD burners as well.

You can, but Xecuter was solely about piracy. It was 100% of their business model. According to the FBI report they went so far as to include pirated games on some products and even created libraries of pirated material that customers could access (and that's not even getting into the charges of wire fraud and money laundering). It's a pretty far cry from what the homebrew and modding community does.
 

GoodBoy

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Was this the company that made the mouse+keyboard adapter for xbox, so you could map keys to controller buttons? I got one of those for original xbox.
 

Derangel

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Was this the company that made the mouse+keyboard adapter for xbox, so you could map keys to controller buttons? I got one of those for original xbox.

Just mod chips and the like back then, I believe.
 

Verge

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I should also comment that we should look at how inane it is that "consoles" with these kinds of restrictions exist


Not getting UFO's dropped on me playing GTA V, or getting a full game of battlefield in without aimbots is lovely. Have fun on your PC, i hope consoles never change.
 

Aegir

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I'd love to see democratic polls appear for these sorts of things. What do "we the people" REALLY think of this sort of crime?
If we are to have a decent society, either taken to the greatest heights or the greatest lows by our own hand, but at least by OUR hand, then we ought to see what we think of these topics.
 

Derangel

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I'd love to see democratic polls appear for these sorts of things. What do "we the people" REALLY think of this sort of crime?
If we are to have a decent society, either taken to the greatest heights or the greatest lows by our own hand, but at least by OUR hand, then we ought to see what we think of these topics.

I imagine most people simply won't care one way or the other. Our copyright laws are fucked beyond belief, but the vast majority of people don't even think about that stuff.
 

Aegir

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I imagine most people simply won't care one way or the other. Our copyright laws are fucked beyond belief, but the vast majority of people don't even think about that stuff.

Then the people who care will vote, right?
Voting legitimizes the acquisition of power or the use of force, doesn't it? That's the point of an election or poll.

To give authority via numbers. If people don't care, or don't believe that the issue can be settled in a vote, then all we need is for people to simply not vote in such numbers that the poll or election has no meaning.

And I also meant a local Hardforum poll, just to see what us technology nerds think about tech issues.
 

vegeta535

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Then the people who care will vote, right?
Voting legitimizes the acquisition of power or the use of force, doesn't it? That's the point of an election or poll.

To give authority via numbers. If people don't care, or don't believe that the issue can be settled in a vote, then all we need is for people to simply not vote in such numbers that the poll or election has no meaning.

And I also meant a local Hardforum poll, just to see what us technology nerds think about tech issues.
People don't care. Hell a lot of people don't even know what they voting for. Like my mom. My brother just tells her what to vote for and she doesn't even questions it. I am sure it happens a lot. Last election when I was in line people were talking about how they were there to just for the president. They didn't care about any other local office or any of the props that actually has a effect on the locally.
 

Darunion

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Oh man I had their board in my original xbox. I played so many of my backup games i had a notebook of about 200 games backed up from originals that I used and didnt have to worry about scratching the discs I paid for. Also was great to play all my hundreds of old console rom backups of originals as well :)
 

DukenukemX

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You can, but Xecuter was solely about piracy. It was 100% of their business model. According to the FBI report they went so far as to include pirated games on some products and even created libraries of pirated material that customers could access (and that's not even getting into the charges of wire fraud and money laundering). It's a pretty far cry from what the homebrew and modding community does.
I've modded my Switch and while I don't use Xecuter due to cost, as far as I'm aware a lot of homebrew does cater to their OS. Which is annoying because I exclusively use Atmosphere. If this is all coming from the FBI I don't have much faith in the reports seeing as this is a huge waste of tax payer money. Why would Xecuter include copies of pirated games when the internet is just overflowing with Switch roms? You can Google Switch roms and find websites easily with them. Including them with your product would just be stupid. Too stupid for me to believe that report.

Not getting UFO's dropped on me playing GTA V, or getting a full game of battlefield in without aimbots is lovely. Have fun on your PC, i hope consoles never change.
What makes you think consoles are immune to hacking and aimbots? The beauty of hacking consoles is that when the machine is hacked then every game is also hacked. Guess what happened to the PS4 recently? Have fun with the soon to be influx of aimbots to your console.

 

Derangel

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I've modded my Switch and while I don't use Xecuter due to cost, as far as I'm aware a lot of homebrew does cater to their OS. Which is annoying because I exclusively use Atmosphere. If this is all coming from the FBI I don't have much faith in the reports seeing as this is a huge waste of tax payer money. Why would Xecuter include copies of pirated games when the internet is just overflowing with Switch roms? You can Google Switch roms and find websites easily with them. Including them with your product would just be stupid. Too stupid for me to believe that report.

I don't recall hearing about them including ROMs with their stuff, but doing a quick search of topics related to the arrest on Reddit (best info I could find even discussing it) they did apparently provide links to pirated games. I imagine the FBI's evidence will come out during their trail, so we'll see then.
 

DukenukemX

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I don't recall hearing about them including ROMs with their stuff, but doing a quick search of topics related to the arrest on Reddit (best info I could find even discussing it) they did apparently provide links to pirated games. I imagine the FBI's evidence will come out during their trail, so we'll see then.
Links make sense. Still stupid as hell.
 

kamxam

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I actually prefer THIS Executor: :whistle:
1602022455931.png
 

trasixes

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I bought an SX OS license, and it's been fantastic, but let's not kid ourselves - they sold this with piracy in mind. There are free alternatives that do the same thing, but SX OS makes it easy for someone with near zero research to pirate Switch games, and that is the point of the product. When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I would've taken the time to use the free alternative, but these days I'll take the easy solution. SX took a risk selling modchips/SX stuff for years, and they knew the primary use was piracy.
 

RanceJustice

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Not getting UFO's dropped on me playing GTA V, or getting a full game of battlefield in without aimbots is lovely. Have fun on your PC, i hope consoles never change.

That has nothing to do with consoles as a platform or the issues I described. There is still a significant amount of cheating attempts that takes place in console communities and there is an entirely separate online/game-wide/account-wide ban structure in place for cheating or otherwise messing with things; I have no problem with this provided it is well vetted and there's an appeals process. However, its asinine that you can cheat all day, simply spawn another online account and get right back to cheating on that same PS4/XBOne/Switch, yet they detect you modding/sideloading etc...your console is hardware-banned from being able to go online (which is even counterproductive from the purpose of piracy . We're going to punish you for maybe pirating by... taking away the ability to play your legit titles online and making sure you never have reason to buy something legit again, thereby driving players to do nothing but pirate?).

However, even when it comes to cheating, I'd rather put up an arms race of cheaters vs anti-cheat countermeasures provided the latter are non draconian, as opposed to user system control and sovereignty being heavily restricted with the ostensible goal being cheat prevention but in reality it is more about profit and control.
 

Verge

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That has nothing to do with consoles as a platform or the issues I described. There is still a significant amount of cheating attempts that takes place in console communities and there is an entirely separate online/game-wide/account-wide ban structure in place for cheating or otherwise messing with things; I have no problem with this provided it is well vetted and there's an appeals process. However, its asinine that you can cheat all day, simply spawn another online account and get right back to cheating on that same PS4/XBOne/Switch, yet they detect you modding/sideloading etc...your console is hardware-banned from being able to go online (which is even counterproductive from the purpose of piracy . We're going to punish you for maybe pirating by... taking away the ability to play your legit titles online and making sure you never have reason to buy something legit again, thereby driving players to do nothing but pirate?).

However, even when it comes to cheating, I'd rather put up an arms race of cheaters vs anti-cheat countermeasures provided the latter are non draconian, as opposed to user system control and sovereignty being heavily restricted with the ostensible goal being cheat prevention but in reality it is more about profit and control.

How exactly are people cheating on the ps4 platform?
 

Darunion

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How exactly are people cheating on the ps4 platform?
Apparently on fortnite ps4 you can use your phone for gamepad control and the aimbot can run on your phone.

Controllers get 'hacked' by putting in a microcontroller to macro button presses for rapidfire with a randomization to circumvent the cheat detectors, or for single press no scope shots.

Lag switches are still used, not as useful as it used to be but some games still can be manipulated with it.

Not as bad as pc, but not a perfect haven either. People always find a way to cheat sadly.
 

Derangel

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How exactly are people cheating on the ps4 platform?

For the (admittedly small) number of people with hacked consoles there's actually an app for the PS4 similar to Cheat Engine that allows people to redefine game values and cheat. There's also save editors that don't require jailbreaking the system. I imagine there are game-specific applications out there as well. Along with hardware solutions.
 

DukenukemX

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Gross, I knew they existed I didn't realize how easy/cheap they had become.
They also have mouse adapters for the consoles if mouse support isn't there. Hacking the console would only further provide more cheating for those looking for it. I've even heard of people using routers to cheat in multiplayer games.

 
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