An 18-year-old hacker, Arion Kurtaj, a prominent member of the notorious Lapsus$ cyber-crime gang, has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order for leaking clips of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6) game. Despite being diagnosed with acute autism, Kurtaj’s cyber skills and persistent motivation to commit cybercrime were deemed by the judge to pose a high risk to the public.
Rockstar Games reported to the court that the hack incurred a recovery cost of $5 million along with the expenditure of thousands of staff hours.
Background on the GTA 6 Hacker
Arion Kurtaj, a teenager from Albania, was arrested in February 2023, after he hacked into Rockstar Games’ servers and leaked footage of the highly anticipated GTA 6, which was scheduled to be released in late 2023. Kurtaj used a hotel TV and a smartphone to access the servers, exploiting a vulnerability in the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. He then uploaded the footage to various online platforms, which quickly went viral.
Kurtaj also hacked into other gaming companies, such as Nvidia, Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft, stealing source codes, game assets, and personal data of employees and customers. He also claimed to have hacked into the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, but these claims were never verified.
Legal Proceedings and Sentencing
Arion Kurtaj, an 18-year-old hacker from Oxford, executed a successful hack into Rockstar Games, the company responsible for Grand Theft Auto VI. Despite being under police protection in a Travelodge hotel, Kurtaj, who has acute autism, utilized a smartphone, an Amazon Firestick, and the hotel TV for the hack. Consequently, he has received an indefinite sentence at a hospital, only to be released when medical professionals ascertain he is no longer a threat. The judge’s decision took into account Kurtaj’s hacking proficiency and his willingness to continue such activities while on parole. Additionally, the article highlights Kurtaj’s association with the cybercriminal group Lapsus$, known for previous hacks on Microsoft and Uber.
Impact of the Hacks and Leaks
The hacks and leaks caused significant damage and disruption to the gaming industry, as well as the privacy and security of millions of users. The leaked GTA 6 footage spoiled the game’s plot and features and also revealed that the game was still in development and far from completion. This resulted in a loss of hype and trust among the fans, and a drop in Rockstar Games’ stock value.
The other gaming companies also suffered from the hacks, as their intellectual property, trade secrets, and customer data were exposed and compromised. Some of the hacked games were delayed, canceled, or modified, due to the risk of piracy and lawsuits. The personal data of employees and customers were also used for identity theft, fraud, and harassment, leading to legal and ethical issues.
The hacks and leaks also raised questions about the security and vulnerability of the hotel’s Wi-Fi network and the potential for other hackers to exploit it. The hotel apologized for the incident and promised to improve its cybersecurity measures and protocols. However, some experts warned that hotel Wi-Fi networks are inherently insecure, and advised users to avoid using them for sensitive or confidential activities.