Lapsus$: Indefinite hospital order issued for GTA 6 hacker
An 18-year-old hacker received an indefinite hospital order for leaking excerpts of an upcoming Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game. Autistic Oxford resident Arion Kurtaj was a crucial member of the international organisation Lapsus$. Nearly $10 million was spent by tech titans Uber, Nvidia, and Rockstar Games as a result of the gang’s attacks.
Kurtaj’s abilities and intent to commit cybercrime, according to the magistrate, maintained that he posed a significant public risk. He will be housed in a secure hospital indefinitely, unless medical professionals determine that he is no longer a threat.
The court was informed that Kurtaj had exhibited violent behaviour while in custody, as evidenced by the dozens of reports of property damage and bodily harm. Due to his severe autism, doctors deemed Kurtaj unsuitable to stand trial; therefore, the jury was tasked with determining whether or not he committed the alleged acts, but not whether he did so with criminal intent.
According to a mental health evaluation that was presented during the sentencing hearing, the defendant “persisted in expressing the desire to promptly revert to cybercrime.” Extremely motivated, he is.
He continued hacking and executed his most infamous breach while on parole for hacking Nvidia and BT/EE and under police protection at a Travelodge hotel, according to the testimony presented to the jury.
Kurtaj breached Rockstar, the developer of Grand Theft Auto, despite having his laptop seized, by utilising an Amazon Firestick, his hotel television, and a mobile phone. He pilfered ninety excerpts from the highly anticipated and unreleased Grand Theft Auto 6.
In order to threaten the release of the source code, he breached the organization’s internal Slack messaging system and declared, “If Rockstar does not contact me on Telegram within twenty-four hours.” He subsequently uploaded the source code and excerpts to a forum using the alias TeaPotUberHacker. He was detained pending trial after being rearrested.
Earlier this month, the GTA 6 trailer debuted on YouTube, garnering 128 million views in just four days.
Ahead of the sentencing proceedings, Kurtaj’s defence team requested that this be reflected in the sentence. They contended that the success of the game’s trailer indicated that Kurtaj’s hack had not inflicted significant harm on the game developer. However, Her Honour Judge Lees stated that his other numerous attacks on individuals and the businesses he targeted with Lapsus$ resulted in tangible losses and damage to legitimate entities.
Rockstar Games alone testified in court that the breach required thousands of hours of staff time and $5 million to recover from. An additional Lapsus$ member, aged 17 and unable to be identified due to his age, was convicted during the concurrent six-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.
He collaborated with Kurtaj and other Lapsus$ members to compromise the data of telecommunications company BT/EE and technology behemoth Nvidia before demanding an unpaid ransom of $4 million. Additionally, they perpetrated direct theft by means of individuals’ cryptocurrency wallets.
In addition to rigorous supervision and a prohibition on the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) on the internet, the 17-year-old received an 18-month Youth Rehabilitation Order.
The judge also imposed a sentence of “unpleasant and alarming pattern of stalking and harassment” against two young women, in addition to the hacking offences.