Western Australia police silent on charges for 17-year-old hacker

Police say the charges are unrelated to Wheeler's claim of hacking Microsoft and Sony

Western Australian police have charged a Perth teenager with several computer-related offenses but are not releasing the details.

Dylan Wheeler, 17, was bailed following an interview with detectives on Monday, said Sgt. Gerry Cassidy, media liaison officer. Wheeler has been charged with at least four computer-related offenses, he said.

Wheeler claimed in February that he had breached the developer networks of Microsoft and Sony, extracting the software development kits for two forthcoming consoles, Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

But Cassidy said the charges are not related to Microsoft or Sony. Police would customarily release charges for a suspect but are not obligated to do so, he said.

Wheeler is scheduled for an appearance next Friday in Perth Children's Court. The charges will be read there, Cassidy said.

Wheeler's Perth residence was raided by police on Feb. 19 but he wasn't arrested. In a phone interview a few days after the raid, Wheeler told IDG News Service that he breached both Microsoft's and Sony's game development networks, extracting software tools used to develop games for the upcoming versions of the Xbox and PlayStation.

Wheeler said Microsoft's senior program manager for investigations within the company's IP Crimes Team knocked on his door in August 2012 and took him to lunch at a hotel. Wheeler, who is studying on his own to pass Cisco network security certification tests, said he was open about his security work and informed Microsoft about several vulnerabilities he found in its networks.

Over the weekend, Wheeler set up an FTP site containing files related to his probes of Microsoft and Sony. Some of the filenames contained the word "Durango," Microsoft's code name for its Xbox One gaming system, and others mention Orbis, Sony's codename for its PlayStation 4 console.

The files could not be downloaded as of Monday morning Perth time. Wheeler said he set up a "deadman switch," which would unlock the files and allow journalists to download the data with a special login and password if he was arrested.

"If I am arrested and do not check in today, then those files you can see on that account will be made downloadable," Wheeler wrote via email on Monday. "At the moment it is a list-only account." The site will unlock at noon GMT on Monday if Wheeler has not checked in, he said.

Wheeler could not be immediately reached later on Monday.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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