First year middle school student sent to Juvenile Correction for illicit access to online game

Here’s an English translation I made of an article I spotted on the news wire of the Japanese daily paper Asahi. The article is extremely vague about the technical details of the case, only saying that he managed to gather the passwords by ‘correctly matching alphabetic and other characters.’ I assume the extreme vagueness is the result of a reporter with no technical knowledge and no desire to have any who basically just re-typed the police blotter to fill his daily file quota. I find it a little surprising that a 13 year old boy was actually arrested for this crime, even under Japan’s unforgiving legal system. Have there been any similar cases of people actually being arrested and charged with criminal activity for hijacking a game account in the US or other countries?

An announcement from the Saitama Prefectural Juvenile Guidance Center states that a Yokohama city first year middle school student(13) was taken into corrective custody by Saitama Prefectural police on July 12th for illegally using someone else’s ID to access the online internet game “Ragnarok.”

According to the same office, on December 16th of last year, when the boy was still a 6th year elementary school student, he used the ID and password of a male company worker(27) from Fujimi city in Saitama prefecture to connect illegally to Ragnarok Online from his home computer up to 16 times.

The boy is said to have collected about 140 people’s IDs and password by correctly matching alphabetic and other characters. Since August of last year he had repeatedly used these IDs and password to illegally access Ragnarok Online over 400 times.

“Ragnarok” is a game in which players engage in adventures on the net, where they collect weapons and other equipment to increase their own power. It was created in Korea, and according to the management company has over 500,000 players in Japan.

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