A group of World of Warcraft criminals in China has been sentenced to prison time in the real world for operating a criminal ring in the video game. The criminal ring reportedly had ten members and all have been sentenced to time in Chinese prisons.
The group received prison time for taking over 11,500 World of Warcraft accounts and selling items and gold to gamers for real money. The criminal ring violated the Chinese regulations banning invasive access to "ordinary computer information systems."
Interestingly the criminal ring wasn’t hacking the computers of WoW gamers themselves. Rather, the group was purchasing the login information on the black market for around $1 per account. They would then get the gold and virtual items from the accounts and sell them online.
The criminal ring reportedly earned as much as $10800 in profit. Chinese authorities confiscated the profits and computers used in the criminal ring. The leader of the criminal ring received two years in prison and an $8000 fine. The other members were fined $1000 and received a bit under 2-years in prison.