Software Bug Leads to Federal Hacking Case
A software bug has led to a federal hacking case along with debates about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Wired reports on May 1 that a man was arrested and charged for exploiting a software bug in a video poker machine. It has been labeled as the Game King case, and John Kane has been accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
John Kane was able to win $500,000 by taking advantage of a previously unknown software bug in a video poker machine. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, he is facing charges because his actions are considered to be exceeding authorized access on the machine. Andre Nestor has also been named as a defendant. “All these guys did is simply push a sequence of buttons that they were legally entitled to push,” argues Kane’s lawyer.
The Game King case has started many debates about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It was recently a hot topic in the CardsChat forums as other poker players questioned the circumstances of the man’s arrest. John Kane and Andre Nestor allegedly found the software bug by simply playing the game often, and they chose not to share the exploit with the manufacturer of the video poker machine. Does this qualify as hacking under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act? This question remains unanswered while critics argue that the scope of the law has changed and is being used to prosecute people for the wrong reasons. Their lawyers argue that the men did not manipulate the video poker machines or tap into any type of sensitive data because they simply found a different way to use the double up feature. A U.S. District Court may help decide the future of the CFAA.