British adolescent responsible for GTA 6 breach handed down an open-ended hospital order

A teenager with acute autism, Arion Kurtaj, successfully hacked Rockstar Games using only an Amazon Firestick, a mobile phone, and a hotel TV. As a result, he stole 90 unreleased clips of Grand Theft Auto 6 and embarked on a hacking spree. This prompted the court to sentence him to an indefinite hospital order.

The court learned that Kurtaj, who is 18 years old and is a member of the Lapsus$ hacking group, was already on bail for hacking Nvidia and BT/EE when he breached Rockstar Games. Despite having his laptop confiscated, he managed to carry out the cyber attack by gaining access to the company’s internal Slack messaging system using an Amazon Firestick, hotel television, and a mobile phone. He even posted the stolen clips and source code on a forum.

Due to the severity of his actions and his autism, Kurtaj will be kept in a secure hospital indefinitely, unless his doctors deem him no longer a danger. The case has raised concerns, leading City of London police to advise parents to monitor their children’s internet activities.

The court also heard that Kurtaj displayed violent behavior while in custody, resulting in numerous reports of injuries and property damage. Because of his acute autism, doctors ruled him unfit to stand trial. Instead, the jury was asked to determine whether he committed the alleged acts, rather than assessing criminal intent.

In a mental health assessment for his sentencing, it was noted that Kurtaj expressed a strong intention to return to cybercrime as soon as possible, indicating a high level of motivation.

In the same trial, another member of the Lapsus$ group, who is 17 years old and cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of multiple offenses, including fraud, Computer Misuse Act violations, and blackmail. He received a youth rehabilitation order at Guildford crown court in Surrey, which includes supervision and rehabilitation requirements.

Rockstar Games divulged that the hack cost them $5 million to recover from, along with thousands of hours of staff time.

DCS Amanda Horsburgh, from the City of London police, stated, “This case serves as a reminder of the dangers young people may encounter online and the serious consequences that can impact their future. While many young individuals may have a genuine interest in understanding technology and exploring vulnerabilities, it is crucial to be mindful of the potential risks and temptations present in the digital world.”

Between August 2020 and September 2022, the gang’s cyber attacks affected various entities, including a telecoms company, a computer parts manufacturer, and gaming companies.

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