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Grand Theft Auto VI hacker teen gets sentenced to life in hospital prison

Grand Theft Auto VI hacker teen gets sentenced to life in hospital prison Photo: Grand Theft Auto VI hacker teen gets sentenced in court (GettyImages)

Arion Kurtaj, an 18-year-old member of the Lapsus$ hacking group, has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act for his role in hacking major tech firms, including the leak of footage from the unreleased Grand Theft Auto VI game, according to Sky News.

Kurtaj was deemed a "key player" in Lapsus$, targeting companies like Rockstar Games, BT, EE, Nvidia, and Uber, causing nearly $10 million in damages. His actions included stealing and leaking codes and footage of Grand Theft Auto VI, blackmailing Rockstar Games, and making multimillion-dollar demands from other tech firms.

He was found to have committed 12 offenses, including computer misuse, fraud, and blackmail, over 14 months when he was 16 and 17 years old. His methods included using an Amazon Firestick, hotel T.V., and mobile phone to access confidential data.

Despite being unfit to enter pleas due to autism, a jury found he had carried out the alleged acts.

A co-defendant, a 17-year-old boy, also faced charges related to the hacks and received a youth rehabilitation order.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency analyzed Lapsus$'s activities, noting the group's transparency in its operations and predominantly teenage membership.

Hacker extortion

Lapsus$, also known as LAPSUS$ and classified by Microsoft as Strawberry Tempest, is an international hacker group known for its extortion-focused cyberattacks against companies and government agencies. The group gained notoriety for its global activities, with members arrested in Brazil and the U.K.

The group started its high-profile cyberattacks in late 2021, initially targeting South American companies. In 2022, they expanded their operations to demand ransoms from major international targets, including tech giants such as Nvidia, Samsung, and Microsoft. This escalation in targeting reflects a significant growth in their operations and capabilities.

Lapsus$ has also been responsible for cyberattacks against notable entities, such as T-Mobile, Okta, and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Their widespread activities demonstrate a significant threat to a diverse range of sectors.

Lapsus$ cybercrime

The background of this case involves the widespread impact of the Lapsus$ hacking group, which gained notoriety for its attacks on high-profile technology companies.

Kurtaj's involvement in these hacks, particularly the leak of Grand Theft Auto VI, drew significant attention due to the game's popularity and the scale of the breach.

The case highlights the complexities of dealing with cybercrimes committed by minors and the challenges in addressing mental health issues within the context of criminal justice.