Arion Kurtaj, an 18-year-old hacker from Oxford, has been sentenced to an indefinite stay in a secure hospital following his involvement in a major security breach. This breach included leaking unreleased footage of the highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6), which is speculated to launch in September 2025. Diagnosed with acute autism, Kurtaj was identified as a key member of the international hacking group Lapsus$, notorious for their attacks on prominent tech firms such as Nvidia, Microsoft, Uber, and Rockstar Games. These attacks have reportedly caused nearly $10 million in damages.
Despite being on bail for a previous hack against Nvidia and under police protection at a Travelodge hotel, Kurtaj executed a substantial hack on Rockstar Games. Using an Amazon Firestick, a hotel TV, and a mobile phone, he managed to breach Rockstar’s internal Slack messaging system. He leaked 90 clips of GTA 6, threatening to release more unless contacted by Rockstar. The leaks, which included the game’s source code and footage, were posted under the alias “TeaPotUberHacker.”
Heavy penalties faced by GTA 6 hacker
The trial for Kurtaj was unique due to his autism, which led to him being deemed unfit to stand trial in the traditional sense. The jury's role was to determine his responsibility for the attacks, rather than assessing criminal intent. Factors contributing to the trial's outcome included his violent behavior in custody and his continued expression of intent to engage in cybercrime.
Kurtaj's actions had a significant impact. Rockstar Games reported a $5 million loss and substantial staff time spent on recovery efforts. Despite this, Kurtaj’s defense argued that the recent successful release of the GTA 6 trailer indicated a minimal negative impact from the hack. However, the court recognized the broader harm caused by Kurtaj's and Lapsus$'s activities, including attacks on other major tech firms and individuals.
A 17-year-old member of Lapsus$ was also convicted in the same trial, receiving a Youth Rehabilitation Order. Lapsus$, described as “digital bandits,” has gained notoriety for their bold cybercrimes and public taunting of their victims. While Kurtaj and the unnamed minor have been convicted, other members of the group are believed to still be active, highlighting the concern over sophisticated cybercrimes by increasingly younger perpetrators.