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Listed here are many of the more significant warez groups, with a short introduction of when they were formed and what they have done. Note that there are many other warez groups that are not included here.
CLASS (also known as CLS) was a warez group which was the target of federal raids such as Operation Fastlink. They were a global group with members worldwide, often releasing "rip" games. The group ceased operations in 2004 after their 1,234'th release.
DrinkOrDie (also known as DoD) was subject to a raid in Operation Buccaneer.
Fairlight (also known as FLT), One of the oldest groups in warez scene, founded in 1987. While still active, the group focuses on demos. Fairlight was subject to raid in Operation Fastlink, which almost killed their ISO division. Their demoscene division was not affected by the raid. FLT's Iso Division is still active in 2008 and is releasing from time to time new game titles.
The Humble Guys (also known as THG) were the first warez group to make use of NFO files to document their releases.
International Network of Crackers (also known as INC) was one of the premier cracking/releasing warez groups for the IBM PC during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The majority of their releases during 1993 were educational games for children. By early 1994, INC had completely disappeared from the warez scene.
Kalisto is a console warez group established in March 1998 which specializes in the release and distribution of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 ISO images, briefly moonlighting on the Dreamcast platform in mid-to-late 2000.
Myth was a warez group, focused on cracking and ripping PC games. Besides ripped games, the group also released trainers and cracked updates for games.
PARADOX (also known as PDX) was founded in 1989, mainly cracking/release games for the Amiga. They have since spread to the PC and other consoles. They were one of the earliest groups to successfully crack Windows Vista which was supposed to be a challenge for the hackers at the time of its release.
Pirates With Attitude (also known as PWA) were a major international warez release group from 1992 until 2000. The group was formed by two former INC members known by the pseudonyms Orion and Bar Manager. PWA members were raided close after the passing of the No Electronic Theft or "NET" Act.
Radium (also known as RDM) is known primarily for cracking and releasing high dollar audio editing software such as Cubase VST and Pro Tools. One of their greater accomplishments was to actually speed up the Fraunhofer MP3 codec as well as cracking the copy protection. Radium were said to have offered better support for their releases than the companies who actually manufactured the programs. Several verses of the rap song Hackers and the Crackers" by Zearle are devoted to the group Radium. In 2004, it was discovered that some of the sounds included with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, such as WMPAUD1.WAV, were authored using a pirated version of Sound Forge which was supplied by Radium.
Razor 1911 (also known as RZR) was founded in 1985 on the Commodore 64 but also had a major presence on the Amiga and the IBM PC. They were subject to raid in Operation Buccaneer and Operation Fastlink.
RELOADED (also known as RLD) was founded in June 2004 from the ex-members of DEViANCE. They released and cracked Spore in 4 days and a The Sims 3 beta version 15 days before their respective street dates. On February 29, 2008, RELOADED released a cracked version of Assassin's Creed, a month before it was to hit the shelves on March 28. Although, this release was later nuked for not being the final retail version as well as having crashing issues. The retail version was released by them more than a month later. They also released Battlefield 3 four days ahead of the official release date. Finally, they released Modern Warfare 3 on the same day the game was released.
Risciso (stylized as RISCISO) was an online warez group, founded in approximately 1993, dedicated to distributing newly-released copyrighted software, games and movies.
SKiDROW is a cracking group known for breaking the UbiSoft DRM protection. SKiDROW has released their content since 1990, having originated on the Amiga out of the ashes of Paranoimia. Skid Row continued for two years on Amiga before internal conflicts led to them disbanding, with members like Blackhawk returning back to resurrect Paradox. Between 2004 and 2007 they seemed to have faded away, but since 2007 they have released many things: trainers, games and cracks. Although they were releasing many games, they truly became well known in the gaming community after cracking Ubisoft's first DRM version. Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic and Assassin's Creed II utilize this type of protection, and both have been cracked by SKiDROW, among many other games. Ubisoft's second DRM version has also been cracked by them, in games such as From Dust and Shaun White Skateboarding. They released Assassin's Creed: Revelations for PC 9 days ahead of the official date. Their most recent release is Ghost Recon Future Soldier and it was released 5 days ahead of the official release date. On August 24, 2012 SKIDROW announced their 500th game ISO release since their start on July 1, 2007.
Superior Art Creations (SAC) is an underground artscene group which caters primarily to and is well known within the warez scene.
Tristar and Red Sector, Inc. (also known as TRSI) began as an alliance between two warez groups: Tristar and Red Sector Incorporated. They were formed in 1990 as a cooperative Commodore 64 demo coding and cracking group. TRSI migrated from the Commodore 64 release platform to the Amiga and IBM-PC, and eventually branched off into the console gaming scene before finally disbanding their warez division. In late 2003, TRSI became inactive and remains so today.
The United Software Association (also known as USA) was a prominent IBM PC games and applications warez group during the 1990s. USA formed an alliance with the PC warez division of Fairlight which was known as "USA/FLT". In late January 1992, several members of USA were arrested by the United States Secret Service and the Farmington Hills, Michigan police for credit card fraud.