WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in the District of New Hampshire returned an indictment late yesterday charging a Dutch national with allegedly conspiring to hack into and disable computer servers belonging to Rampid Interactive, a New Hampshire-based company that publishes and hosts a multi-player online role-playing game called “Outwar,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas of the District of New Hampshire announced today.
Anil Kheda, 24, of the Netherlands, is charged with one count of conspiring to commit computer intrusion and one count of making extortionate interstate threats.
The indictment alleges that from November 2007 to August 2008, Kheda and other members of the conspiracy, all of whom were avid “Outwar” players, accessed Rampid’s computer servers without authorization and rendered “Outwar” unplayable for days at a time. According to the indictment, Kheda and his alleged co-conspirators also used their unauthorized access to Rampid’s servers to alter user accounts – causing the restoration of suspended player accounts and the accrual of unearned game points – and obtain a copy of all or portions of the “Outwar” computer source code, which they used to help create a competitor online game, “Outcraft.” The indictment also alleges that Kheda and his alleged co-conspirators sent Rampid interstate communications threatening to continue to hack into Rampid’s computer systems unless Rampid agreed to pay them money or provide them with other benefits.
According to the indictment, as a result of the defendants’ hacking activities, Rampid was unable to operate “Outwar” for a total of approximately two weeks over a nine-month period and incurred over $100,000 in lost revenues, wages, hosting costs, long term loss of business, as well as the loss of exclusive use of their proprietary source code, which it had invested approximately $1.5 million in creating.
According to court documents, Kheda earned approximately $10,000 in profits from operating “Outcraft,” which has approximately 10,000 players worldwide.
If convicted, Kheda faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and two years in prison on the interstate threats charge.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen of the District of New Hampshire.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.