The United States Department of Justice recently revealed that it is now seeking the extradition of two Malaysians to the US in relation to the malicious cyber activities by a group of Chinese hackers that is being labelled as the Advanced Persistent Threat-41 (APT-41). Both of them have been detained by the Malaysian authorities in Setiawan last weekend.
According to the court document [pdf], one of the individuals is Wong Ong Hua who is the founder and CEO of SEA Gamer Mall (SEAGM) which is a Malaysian-based online store that sells reloads for games and digital services. Also in custody at the moment is the Chief Product Officer of SEAGM, Ling Yang Ching.
The court document stated that both individuals have obtained digital goods for videos games that were sourced by illegal manners by hackers within APT-41 and sold them through SEAGM. The items were obtained through several methods including the creation of game player accounts, hacking into the computers of video game companies, and database modifications.
The name of the games that were targeted in the scheme was not specifically mentioned in the document but they are made by game companies based in the US, France, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. These game companies were not named inside the court document as well.
The elaborate scheme apparently took place between June 2014 and December 2018 although in the timeline stated in the court document revealed that one of APT-41 hacker has told Ong Hua in February 2018 that the US authorities have already sniffed their operation.
Even though the scope of APT-41 malicious cyber activities was actually pretty huge as it involved over 100 companies, organisations, and individuals throughout the world including in Malaysia, the scheme on the game companies was deemed as unprecedented by the US authorities.
If found guilty, Ong Hua and Yang Ching could end up in jail for decades which showed the severity of the charges that have been put against them.
(Additional image: SEA Gamer Mall via The Star.)
UPDATE (3:15 PM):
We have been made aware of the American allegations against two of our employees.
Both the employees concerned are temporarily on leave pending the resolution of the matter.
As a responsible company serving millions of customers around the world we are committed to and have been offering full cooperation and assistance to the authorities.
Without compromising the integrity of any ongoing legal process, suffice to say that the company has never engaged in any illegal activity as we are a home grown Malaysian company with hundreds of employees and millions of customers all around the world.
SEA Gamer Mall will continue to take significant steps to manage the claims. Rest assured that the management of the company has the best interests of each and every customer at heart and we will continue giving our best services to our customers.
All personal details of our customers remain safe and secure. The company is actively engaging with external professionals to enhance our system in order to ensure the utmost safety and security to protect all personal data and details of our customers.
We strive to take all necessary measures to minimise the risks of our business relationships with our valued partners.
Even though both of its CEO and CPO have been detained by Malaysian authorities, it seems that business is still as usual for SEAGM.