Technology

Lineage II pair arrested for stealing virtual goods

Screenshot from Lineage II, NCSoft
Image caption Rare game items such as swords and shields can command a hefty real world price

Japanese police have arrested two people suspected of stealing virtual goods from players of online game Lineage II.

The pair tricked victims via a booby-trapped program that claimed to help people play the game.

Instead of boosting a character's abilities the program stole account names and passwords.

About 100 people are thought to have fallen victim, netting the pair about 1m yen (£7,630).

The money was made by selling off the virtual items, such as swords, shields and armour, that players were using on their characters.

Yu Nishimura and Kaori Tanaka are believed to have met via Lineage II. The scam revolved around a website supposedly giving away an add-on program that boosted a character's fighting prowess.

The pair have been accused under Japanese laws governing unauthorised access to computers. If found guilty they could face fines up to 500,000 yen (£3,800) or a maximum of a year in jail.

NC Japan, which operates Lineage II in the country, is also believed to be considering suing the pair for compensation.

It claims to have spent more than 100m yen to secure the game against malicious hackers or those using add-ons and other tools to boost in-game abilities.

Lineage II has about 1.5 million players in Japan.

Game logins have become a popular target for many hi-tech thieves because they are often not as well defended as online bank accounts or shopping sites.

More on this story