South Korea’s new law that takes aim at those who hack online games in order to cheat at them, which went into effect last June, has hackers in hot water. Earlier this year, 13 Overwatch offenders were arrested, and now two have received their sentences.
According to a post from Blizzard Korea—which worked with the Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department as part of a year-long investigation that began in January 2017—one of the 13 has received two years of probation from the South Korean government, and if he violates it, he’ll see jail time. The other has been fined 10 million won, or around $10,000.
No competitive game is free of cheating, but in 2016 and 2017, Overwatch had an especially nasty hacker problem in South Korea, where the proliferation of PC-focused cafes called “PC bangs” meant that cheaters could cycle between freebie accounts when they got banned. Early in 2017, Blizzard changed the rules around PC bang accounts to crack down on that practice, but there was still a bigger problem: those who created the hacks.
South Korea’s June 2017 law targets those creators—not rando players who decide it might be fun to see through walls for an afternoon. The law specifically mentions the creation of “game hacks” as well as the creation and distribution of private servers. It’s come under fire for perhaps being too broad, with room in its net for innocuous mods as well. Those found guilty can face a maximum fine of nearly $50,000 and a maximum sentence of five years in prison. I imagine that these hack creators are thanking their lucky stars that it didn’t come to that.