Riot Games Co-Founder Suffers $5M Theft of Cloud Computing Power

Co-founder of Riot Games Mark Merrill suffered identity theft, which allowed a malicious user to gain access to his credentials and purchase processing power on behalf of the business. Riot Games is the creator of the wildly-popular MOBA League of Legends. The hacker, one Matthew Ho, was responsible for several identity thefts and wire transfer fraud schemes. The Singaporean national used Merrill’s credit card to purchase cloud processing power, which he then utilized to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.

Flying Under the Radar

Prosecutors found that Ho was among the largest consumers of data usage by volume on Amazon Web Services. The scheme remained active for a few months, using the card registered to the company as a funding source. Reports claim that the company even paid a few months of the subscription before they started to realize something was wrong. On consulting with Merrill himself, the business realized that it was the victim of a hack.

In a sophisticated hack, Ho managed to convince AWS that he was the president of Riot Games, allowing him to use the card without suspicion for some time. The identity theft allowed Ho admin privileges on the Amazon and Google on behalf of the company, then used that privilege to set up automatic mining programs to utilize the cloud computing power. The Department of Justice charged Ho in October, but the identity of the victim has only now become public.

Other Victims Come Forth

Merrill isn’t the only victim of Ho’s scheme, however. Two individuals from Texas and one person from India all fell prey to the same type of fraud. It’s still unclear how Ho came up with Merrill’s address to use his American Express card. Authorities in Singapore currently have Ho under arrest pending charges. No information is presently forthcoming about whether he will be extradited to face charges in the United States.