An 18-year-old from Oxford, England, has been found to be part of a Lapsus$ group hacking spree by a court. The series of attacks affected a number of major companies, including Rockstar Games, which led to an enormous amount of leaked information about GTA 6 appearing online in September 2022.
As reported by the BBC, Arion Kurtaj was previously deemed not fit to stand trial by psychiatrists, so he did not appear in court. A 17-year-old was convicted for his involvement in Lapsus$ activities, but cannot be named due to his age. The Independent reports that the two were described as “key players” in the Lapsus$ group by the prosecution.
The court was told that Kurtaj and the 17-year-old met online and began hacking together in July 2021, with Kurtaj allegedly hacking the data files and servers of mobile network and internet providers, EE and BT (with the help of associates), leading to them being arrested in January 2022 - they were later released under investigation. After that, the court heard that the pair hacked into Nvidia in February 2022, released sensitive information online, and then demanded a ransom payment to stop them from revealing more. They were arrested on March 31, 2022, but, shortly before, Kurtaj was reportedly doxxed by a group of rival hackers, and he was moved to a hotel for his own safety while under strict bail conditions.
However, prosecutors said Kurtaj was “caught red handed” when police searched his hotel room and found an Amazon Fire Stick, which allowed him to connect to cloud computing services with a new phone, and a keyboard and mouse. Reportedly, the court heard that Kurtaj had helped attack Rockstar Games (as well as Revolut and Uber) and that during the attack on the GTA developer, he had sent a message to all employees on the company’s Slack, which read: “I am not a Rockstar employee, I am an attacker.”
Shortly after the leaked GTA 6 information surfaced online in September 2022, Rockstar Games released a public statement, and said that “an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems”. It added that the company was “extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way”.
Kurtaj is remanded in custody, while the unnamed 17-year-old continues to have bail. Both will be sentenced at a later date.
GTA 6 is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming games in development right now.
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Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.