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Nintendo Switch hacker pleads guilty to various charges

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A California man who hacked Nintendo of America servers and leaked information about the Nintendo Switch before its 2017 launch has been convicted of the crime and some related charges. Ryan S. Hernandez pleaded guilty on Friday to charges related to the hack. He hacked Nintendo in 2016 by using a phishing scam targeting Nintendo employees. According to court rulings, Hernandez must pay the company almost $260,000 in restitution, but that’s not his only conviction.

The hacker illegally gained to access to several confidential files related to the Switch and some upcoming games. These leaks led to an internal investigation, which itself eventually led to the filing of criminal charges. In a statement from the office of Brian T. Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington (Seattle), the details leading to these convictions have been laid out.

In 2016, the hack had been discovered, but because the accused was a minor at the time, the charges were reduced after the man promised to stop his hacking.

“Nevertheless, from at least June 2018 to June 2019, Hernandez returned to his malicious activities,” the statement said, “hacking into multiple Nintendo servers and stealing confidential information about various popular video games, gaming consoles, and developer tools.” Prosecutors also said they found evidence of the hacker having bragged on social media about the hack, rather than lying low.

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Prosecutors, in a plea agreement, have pushed the judge to rule for a three year sentence based on the hacking charges. Hernandez will be sentenced on April 21, 2020. But there’s another charge pending ruling for sentencing that carries much more dangerous implications.

The more dangerous and disgusting charge is based around what investigators found on Hernandez’s computer during the course of the investigation. The accused is alleged to have had more than 1,000 sexually explicit videos and images of minors that he stored in a folder he labeled “Bad Stuff.” That charge related to child pornography carries a much more serious 20 year life sentence. Hernandez will also have to register as a sex offender.

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