The guy who leaked the Switch before its launch pleads guilty to hacking Nintendo

By Emily Gera
2 February 2020 18:39 GMT

Ryan Hernandez has pleaded guilty to federal crimes relating to a Nintendo hacking scheme that resulted in the leaking of pre-release info about the Switch.

California-based Ryan Hernandez, 21, along with an associate phished a Nintendo employee in 2016 in an attempt to steal confidential information from the company, according to the US Department of Justice. In 2017, the FBI contacted Hernandez and his parents to warn him of the consequences of future hacking.

But between June 2018 and June 2019, Hernandez continued to break into multiple Nintendo servers and illegally accessed corporate information.

Hernandez would go on to boast of his successes on Twitter, Discord, and his personal chat forum “Ryan’s Underground Hangout” where he discussed confidential information found through hacking Nintendo, as well as sharing vulnerabilities in Nintendo’s network. As a result, the FBI raided Hernandez’s home in June 2019 and found “thousands of confidential Nintendo files.”

He was additionally charged with possession of child pornography.

Hernandez has agreed to pay $259,323 in restitution to Nintendo as part of his plea agreement, according to the DOJ. His full sentence is yet to be determined; however, he faces up to five years in prison for hacking and up to 20 years for possession of child pornography.

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