Gary Bowser, the Nintendo hacker, appears to be a very happy cybercriminal. Despite a prison term and another arrest, the 50-year-old Frenchman is enjoying life. So does his “collegue” – Max Louarn, the chief of Team Xecuter gang.
The Nintendo Hacker keeps going
As reported by SecurityLab in February of this year, Gary Bowser was sentenced to three years in prison for participating in the Team Xecuter hacker group, which sold hacked Nintendo consoles that can play pirated games. However, Bowser’s partner, group leader Max Louarn, is still at large. Despite legal troubles and even an arrest in Tanzania, the 50-year-old Frenchman is enjoying life with his girlfriend, a former model from Russia, in the picturesque town of Avignon in southern France.
Louarn became interested in hacking in the 1980s. At first, he hacked into his Commodore 64 home computer for fun, but a harmless hobby eventually grew into a good source of income. “I wasn’t going to be an engineer with a salary of 5,000 euros a month when I realized at the age of 18 that hacking is not only fun but also brings a lot of money. Steal from companies that earn billions, why not? The hacker admitted to Le Monde in a recent interview.
MAXiMiLiEN (Luarne’s hacker alias from the 1990s) sold hacked games, key generators and software until 1993 when he was arrested on piracy charges…by Nintendo! The hacker flew to Spain, but law enforcement lured him to the US by sending a fake invitation to a birthday party on behalf of his friend. As soon as Luarne got off the plane, he was immediately arrested.
The court pleaded the Frenchman guilty and made him serve five years in an American prison. In 2005, Sony sued the hacker, accusing him of piracy and demanding $5 million in damages. As Luarne says, Nintendo considers him a sworn enemy.
“They hate me. I bet they have a photo of me nailed in their office in Tokyo,” — the hacker laughs.
Bowser is not going to deny his ideas
However, he himself considers himself not a villain, but rather a rebel. “We have always stood for freedom. This is our way of thinking: to do whatever we want with the machines, and that everyone has access to them, ”Luarne said.
It is noteworthy that the hacker himself denies his connection with Team Xecuter, although, as part of an agreement on cooperation with the investigation, Gary Bowser called him his accomplice. Now the Frenchman is hunted not only by Nintendo, but also the US Department of Justice. As mentioned, Luarne was arrested in Tanzania in 2020 but was released after a court found his arrest illegal. On a private jet, the hacker managed to escape from the FBI and fly to France.
NEW: Gary Bowser agrees to pay Nintendo $10 million in video game piracy civil lawsuit. This follows Bowser's guilty plea in October in the federal criminal case against him (where he agreed pay Nintendo $4.5 million in restitution.) https://t.co/zohn0SPHnH pic.twitter.com/KMJro3l8Zw
— Rob Romano (@2Aupdates) December 6, 2021
Although Luarne lives a comparatively free life at home, his overseas bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallets are frozen, and the legal vise is tightening. Be that as it may, the hacker does not intend to give up. According to him, US laws protect the interests of large corporations and are “ready to destroy competitors by covering simple commercial disputes with criminal law. Now it would be more difficult to serve the sentence, because I have to take care of my father. I have a 16-year-old daughter and will soon have a second child,” notes Luarn.
Ideological hackers are pretty rare nowadays. The crooks you will likely spectate these days come into this profession chasing for money, and having no clue about the ideas like the ones which guided Mr. Bowser. Sure, you still can spectate the gangs like LockBit – that have a list of the companies they will never attack, and practice the methods of so-called “ethical hacking”. Still, there are much more groups that attack whoever and even apply the sliest ways of money extortion.