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University student busted over cheat app targeting popular smartphone game

A 21-year-old man has been arrested for distributing a cheat app targeting the popular Puzzle & Dragons smartphone game, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police's cybercrime division announced on June 15.

    Hiroshima resident Yoshihiro Wakazono, a third-year university student, was arrested on suspicion of violating the Copyright Act for releasing his "Cheat Tools" app -- designed to alter data in the Puzzle & Dragons game -- on the internet. According to police, Wakazono has admitted to the accusations, and was quoted as saying, "I wanted to show off my technical skills."

    According to the game's owner GungHo Online Entertainment Inc., cheat programs allowing players to make easy progress have become rampant in recent years.

    Wakazono stands accused of releasing his Cheat Tool app -- which he built on his home computer and which makes characters in the Puzzle and Dragons game stronger -- on his internet site on June 27 last year, and allowed an unspecified large number of people to download the app. Kanagawa Prefectural police uncovered the download site that month after arresting another man on suspicion of Copyright Act violations for selling Cheat Tools on an internet auction site.

    According to the cybercrime division, Wakazono rewrote the Cheat Tool code whenever GungHo took measures to combat cheating, and rereleased the cheat app at least 30 times. Cheat Tool is thought to have been downloaded more than 400,000 times by users both inside and outside Japan since September 2013.

    GungHo has said that growing numbers of junior high and high school students are using another cheat app that deactivates the company's anti-cheating software. A GungHo representative told the Mainichi Shimbun, "We are proud that we are making a game that people can enjoy in a simple way. We'd like people to keep on playing for as long as possible."

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