State prosecutors are demanding one and a half years in prison for Andrey Kirsanov, who created cheats and bots for ‘World of tanks’ and ‘World of warships’
Russian hacker Andrey Kirsanov has reportedly admitted to being guilty of creating cheats and bots for the popular Warthunder games ‘World of Tanks’ and ‘World of Warships’, according to media reports from his trial hearing in Ekaterinburg on Tuesday.
According to the TASS News agency, state prosecutors are demanding the hacker face one and a half years in prison for allegedly costing the gaming company over 670 million rubles (around $12 million) since he first started selling the exploits.
It was revealed during the hearing that, since 2015, Kirsanov had been creating and selling auto-aim cheats for Warthunder’s military simulator shooter games as well as bots allowing players to level up their accounts without actually playing the games. The price for these cheats reportedly ranged from 25 rubles to over 2,000 rubles depending on the amount of battles the cheats would be active in.
Charges against Kirsanov were initially filed in Spring 2021 as he became the first person in Russia to be criminally tried for the creation and distribution of videogame cheats. Kirsanov’s case was initially set to be tried in Moscow, but the court decided to transfer the trial to his home city of Ekaterinburg, where the first hearing commenced on June 9.
As there is currently no law in Russia’s criminal code specifically pertaining to video games, the hacker has been charged with the “creation and distribution of harmful computer programs,” which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years and/or a fine to pay off the damages inflicted to the victims.
The Belarusian game company Wargaming – the creator of ‘World of Tanks’ and ‘World of Warships’ – has been declared the injured party in this case, as they claim that the thousands of cheats sold by Kirsanov ultimately cost the company millions of dollars and led many frustrated players to quit the game.
In April, Wargaming announced that it would be leaving its native country of Belarus amid the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as most Russian and Belarusian companies ended up being targeted by sweeping Western sanctions. When the company said it would be completely shutting down its operations in Russia and Belarus, where it had been the biggest gaming company in the country, it also announced that it had sold all the operating rights for ‘World of Tanks’, ‘World of Warships’, and ‘World of Warplanes’ to Russian developer Lesta Studio.