An internal Nintendo leak has revealed measures the company took when approaching a 3DS homebrew hacker. The measures are rather extreme and apparently include surveillance of the individual in question, as well as internal presentations and instructions on how to approach him.
What does the Nintendo leak reveal?
This comes courtesy of prominent Twitter Nintendo leaker Eclipse. According to documents unearthed by Eclipse - which also include a Switch software development kit and console security documents, among other things - the company conducted surveillance on Neimod, a hacker who cracked the 3DS, in 2013. Online Nintendo historian Forest of Illusion corroborates this with an internal document showing findings about Neimod's personal life including where he lived and his average work week.
In addition to the surveillance, Nintendo also created detailed plans on how to approach Neimod in order to get him to back down from hacking the 3DS. In the documents, IRC chats involving Neimod are included, showing Nintendo covertly extracting information from Neimod and altering its response to the issue based on what he says. The details of Nintendo's plan to approach Neimod are remarkably detailed, with multiple stages and potential outcomes mapped out in a flowchart.
There's also a detailed plan in the Nintendo leak regarding exactly how Nintendo planned to approach Neimod, including timestamps. In these plans, a "contact team" would approach Neimod after he arrived home on a Monday. The team would approach him in a "friendly, non-threatening, professional, and courteous manner", praising him for his "engineering/programming aptitude" and requesting that he "discontinue hacking of Nintendo systems/products". If a resolution was not reached, Nintendo intended to "pursue a criminal referral" and show Neimod a draft complaint to "demonstrate severity and seriousness".
Nintendo's history with hackers
Being a massive gaming company, Nintendo has a storied history with hackers. Coder Hector Martin shared his experience with Nintendo on Twitter, detailing how the company approached him in 2015 for "professional work on a freelance/consulting basis". Martin also corroborates the stories of "stalking" carried out by Nintendo. According to Martin, former Nintendo of America lawyer Jodi Daugherty "tracked down" the work phone of Wii homebrew hacker Bushing and called him "as an intimidatory tactic".
Storytime: I did some pentesting and advising work for Nintendo after they approached me (via email, not stalking) in 2015. This was professional work on a freelance/consulting basis.— Hector Martin (@marcan42) December 22, 2020
That NDA has expired. I won't talk about project details but let's talk about how that went.
Streamer Kaitlyn Molinas also points out that in the Nintendo leak, there's a PR plan for if "the public finds out that they hired a hacker from the homebrew scene". The PR plan contains potential outcomes and whether or not Nintendo managed to avoid or mitigate those outcomes. According to Molinas, Nintendo also attempted to approach Neimod in order to hire him, offering prototypes and hardware samples as incentives to join the company.
Apparently Neimod from the 3DS hacking scene worked with Nintendo to explain his 3DS exploits, and analyze possible solutions, and Nintendo went as far as planning to hire him, attempting to...curry favor, by giving prototypes and cool hardware samples??? pic.twitter.com/X8L024gXSE— Kaitlyn Molinas (@orcastraw) December 22, 2020
The full thread is available on Eclipse's Twitter account and also contains other Nintendo leaks, and a Switch development kit. It's well worth checking out if you're interested in Nintendo history and some of the shadier stuff the company has done in the past. There are also potential prototype designs for the Switch and some 3DS curios for the truly history-conscious.
How do you feel about Nintendo's tactics towards Neimod? Let us know in the comments below!