Hacker Who Stole Nintendo Switch Details Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
Adam Janofsky December 1, 2020

Hacker Who Stole Nintendo Switch Details Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Adam Janofsky

December 1, 2020

Hacker Who Stole Nintendo Switch Details Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

A California man who bragged about his hacking exploits on social media and his own online chat forum was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for breaking into Nintendo’s servers to steal confidential files on its consoles and games, including information about the Nintendo Switch before it was publicly announced.

According to court documents, Ryan Hernandez, 21, and an associate phished a Nintendo employee in 2016, while Hernandez was still a minor. They used that access to steal information including pre-release materials about the Switch console, which was leaked to the public. In October 2017, the FBI contacted Hernandez and his parents about the incident, and Hernandez promised to stop further malicious activity and said he understood the consequences of future hacking attempts.

In 2018 and 2019, however, Hernandez hacked into multiple Nintendo servers and stole confidential information about the company’s games, consoles, and developer tools. Additionally, he boasted about his hacking escapades on Twitter and Discourse, and even operated an online chat forum called “Ryan’s Underground Hangout” in which he shared some of the stolen information and details about possible Nintendo network vulnerabilities.

When FBI agents searched his home and seized his electronic devices in June 2019, they found thousands of confidential Nintendo files, as well as evidence of child pornography. Hernandez, who is required to register as a sex offender, also agreed to pay Nintendo more than $250,000 in restitution. At the sentencing hearing Judge John Coughenour of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ordered Hernandez to seven years of supervised release following prison.

The original indictment can be read here:

Adam is the founding editor-in-chief of The Record by Recorded Future. He previously was the cybersecurity and privacy reporter for Protocol, and prior to that covered cybersecurity, AI, and other emerging technology for The Wall Street Journal.