Renowned Hacker Arrested For Cracking Denuvo Anti-Piracy Tech

Illustration for article titled Renowned Hacker Arrested For Cracking Denuvo Anti-Piracy Techem/emem/em

Denuvo’s notorious anti-piracy tech used to be seen as uncrackable. It held up against hackers’ best efforts for years, contorting itself into obtuse new shapes every time anybody broke through. In 2016, a Bulgarian hacker calling himself Voksi came along with a breakthrough that revitalized the whole Denuvo cracking scene. He’s been a pillar of it ever since. Now he’s in deep trouble.

In a post today on CrackWatch, a subreddit dedicated to removing DRM and other copy protection software from games, Voksi explained the sudden outage of the website of his hacker group, REVOLT. Yesterday, he got arrested, and the police raided his house.

“It finally happened,” Voksi wrote. “I can’t say it wasn’t expected. Denuvo filed a case against me to the Bulgarian authorities. Police came yesterday and took the server PC and my personal PC. I had to go to the police afterwards and explain myself.”

Advertisement

In a statement sent to Kotaku, Denuvo said that Voksi’s arrest came about through the dual efforts of Denuvo parent company Irdeto and the Bulgarian Cybercrime Unit. “The swift action of the Bulgarian police on this matter shows the power of collaboration between law enforcement and technology providers and that piracy is a serious offence that will be acted upon,” said Irdeto VP of cybersecurity services Mark Mulready.

Denuvo’s statement also included a quote from the Bulgarian Cybercrime Unit, which said: “We can confirm that a 21-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of offenses related to cybercrime and that computing equipment was confiscated. Our investigations are ongoing.”

Voksi declined to reply when reached for comment by Kotaku, but on Reddit he lamented that this Denuvo-cracking days are almost certainly behind him. “Sadly, I won’t be able to do what I did anymore,” he said. “I did what I did for you guys and of course because bloated software in our games shouldn’t be allowed at all. Maybe someone else can continue my fight.”

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I fully understand that there are a number of arguments and justifications for piracy (to include exorbitant pricing models in some nations, inaccessibility of titles in nations where they were not formally released, etc).

Understanding that does not change one fundamental fact: In most cases, piracy. Is. Theft.

Spare me the sophist prattle concerning the fact that “piracy only makes a copy, it does not remove the original product from the point of sale.”

In a world economy that is rapidly embracing digital marketplaces just as readily as it embraced their physical counterpart, digital goods must now be recognized as a commodity (they were before, but the advent of digital-only storefronts has put paid to the idea that certain products should be up for piracy if they cannot be obtained physically). That means that acquiring a product that was produced for retail sale without paying for it is—wait for it—theft.

I really have no idea how harsh this person’s punishment should be—certainly, they shouldn’t go away for years on end, nor should their life or career be utterly ruined over this—but in the end, their work enabled how many other folks to acquire products they otherwise would have had to pay for (and fuck that, “it’s not a lost sale if I was never going to buy it in the first place” pablum, as well—a filched pack of gum may be a physical product that needs to be replaced, but taking it because ‘I was never going to pay for it anyway’ still constitutes that product being in-hand when it was meant to be paid for), and they must be made to pay for that.

I really wonder if the folks who squall in defense of piracy (outside of not being able to acquire a product legitimately in their region—that I can understand and do not judge) would be comfortable with whatever they do for a living being available without charge. At what point would they be willing to say, “Look, my livelihood’s suffering—maybe fuck off?”

...my guess is around the time it impacted their pocketbook.