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Arrests made in 'Half-Life' game hacking case

Date: June 11, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Arrests have been made in the theft last year of source code for Valve Software's highly anticipated PC game Half-Life 2, an FBI spokesman in Seattle said Thursday.

Details about the arrests, which were made in several countries, were not made public because they are part of an ongoing investigation, FBI spokesman Ray Lauer said.

Valve officials said the online gaming community tracked down the purported hackers within days of the company's announcement last fall that the release of Half-Life 2 would be delayed because of the Internet break-in.

The hackers stole the source code and distributed portions online in one of the worst data thefts to hit the video game industry, prompting fans to pledge their help.

"It was extraordinary to watch how quickly and how cleverly gamers were able to unravel what are traditionally unsolvable problems for law enforcement related to this kind of cyber crime," Valve Chief Executive Gabe Newell said in a statement.

Newell said Valve has been working with law enforcement authorities in various nations to prepare cases against the accused code thieves. It was not clear when the arrests were made.

Half-Life, one of the most popular games ever, stars hunky scientist Gordon Freeman as he battles against aliens. Its sequel was to be published by Vivendi Universal Games, the video game arm of Vivendi Universal.

A Valve spokeswoman said no release date has been set but the firm expected to complete the game this summer.

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