18-year-old GTA VI hacker ordered to life in hospital over leaked clips

World News

An 18-year-old hacker who stole and leaked several video clips of the highly anticipated “Grand Theft Auto VI” game will be sent to a secure hospital in the U.K. for life until he’s no longer deemed a danger to the public, a sentencing that comes a few months after the hacker was found guilty of hacking multiple tech companies in addition to GTA developer Rockstar Games.
GTA VI Photo Illustrations

GTA VI will release in 2025. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • A British judge said the hacker’s skill in carrying out cyberattacks made him a high risk to the public, a statement backed by a mental health assessment used in the sentencing that stated the hacker was “highly motivated” and “continued to express the intent to return to cybercrime as soon as possible,” according to the BBC.
  • The hacker, Arion Kurtaj, was found guilty of the hack in August and was previously deemed unfit to stand trial because of an autistic-spectrum disorder, Bloomberg reported, adding that the judge said in her ruling that there was also a risk of online hackers persuading him to commit further cyber crimes.
  • Kurtaj was on bail for hacking chip making behemoth Nvidia and British internet service provider EE when he managed to breach GTA VI maker Rockstar using an Amazon Firestick, his hotel TV and a mobile phone, breaking into the company’s internal Slack server and saying he would start releasing source code if Rockstar didn’t pay a multi-million dollar ransom.
  • Kurtaj is part of a hacking group named Lapsus$, which has cost companies including Nvidia, Rockstar and Uber nearly $10 million through its hacks, the BBC reported.
Key Background

The 18-year-old was arrested by London police last year following the Rockstar hack that resulted in 90 clips of “Grand Theft Auto VI” being stolen. Kurtaj and an unidentified 17-year old male were separately found guilty in August of serious computer misuse, blackmail and fraud for hacking EE and Nvidia.

Rockstar has dealt with multiple hacking/leak hurdles during the development of “Grand Theft Auto VI,” one of gaming’s most anticipated titles that is set to release in 2025. The gaming studio publicly acknowledged a network intrusion last year in which a third party accessed confidential information and GTA VI development footage.

The timing of the intrusion and number of clips leaked matches the points noted in Kurtaj’s sentencing. The hacks against Rockstar gained attention from the FBI, which investigated intrusions into the gaming studio in addition to hacks committed against Uber. The ride-hailing service said in a blog post that there were reports the same actor who breached Rockstar had also hacked Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, Nvidia and Okta, according to IGN.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.