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Ex-hacker to help Nintendo with viral marketing

Kuji: from almost starting WWIII to Zelda

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A well-known former computer hacker has been hired to do viral marketing for games firm Nintendo and TV channel E4.

Mathew Bevan, whose hacker handle is Kuji, was accused of breaking into US military computer systems but escaped without punishment when a 1997 case at Woolwich Crown Court was dropped after a long-running legal battle.

After the case Bevan became an ethical hacker and security consultant with Tiger Computer Security, and later on a freelance basis with his firm the Kuji Media Corporation.

Bevan was reluctant to go into details of his marketing work just yet, but said he was offered work for Nintendo and the E4 site, e4chained, through a third party and the Kuji Media Corporation. As a security expert it was felt he had the talent to help run a successful viral marketing campaign.

Bevan, and Richard Pryce (Datastream Cowboy) were accused of hacking into a research centre at Griffiss Air Force base in New York state and faced charges related to the Computer Misuse Act.

The case revolved an incident when the Korean Atomic Research Institute's database was found to have had been deposited on USAF's systems.

In court, USAF investigators admitted that they initially feared the data had come from North Korea - something that could spark a major international incident. This provoked fears that World War III might be started by a teenage computer hacker sitting in his bedroom.

An inquiry into the hack led investigators to Bevan and Pryce, who were subsequently charged.

Pryce, who was 16 at the time, was fined £1,200 in a hearing before the Woolwich Crown Court case. The prosecution against Bevan was dropped because after the leniency shown to Pryce, prosecutors concluded it was too expensive to continue with the case. ®

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