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Valve thieves captured

You're nicked, chaps
Fri Jun 11 2004, 06:58
ONE INTERESTING BIT of news that hit the wires today is that the people who allegedly hacked Valve and stole the source to Half-Life 2 have presumably been caught. Now, these people were caught not because of the brilliance of law enforcement, or the stupidity of their actions, as is so common with some criminals, but because they picked on the wrong community.

I use the word community very advisedly, mainly because it seems like it was the community that brought them down. If you pick on an unloved loner, or an antisocial entity, chances are that you will get away with it. Pick on something that has a long running, close knit, and rather rabid following, and you have problem. Look to SCO for an example.

Now, if the hackers had picked on, oh, say, Microsoft, they probably would have gotten away with it. Pick on Valve, and you have a die-hard following of people who think they know how to use guns planted on your ass. Lots of them. With nothing better to do than hunt you down for 'street cred'.

Reading the "press release", there are some really important differences from the normal "we bagged them good" release. How often do you see a quote like "Within a few days of the announcement of the break-in, the online gaming community had tracked down those involved", written by CEO Gabe Newell.

The press release goes on to say how the whole concept of "many eyes" worked where traditional law enforcement didn't do so well. This whole concept of community outrage and action bodes well for the internet in the long run. When someone sufficiently pees off a large group that appears to care, watch out. µ


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