18-Year-Old Mastermind’s $9M Cyber Heist on Grand Theft Auto 6 Unveiled

18-year-old Arion Kurtaj, an autistic member of the Lapsus$ cyber-crime group, has been handed an indefinite hospital order for orchestrating a multi-million-pound hacking campaign that caused £7 million in damages to various corporations, including the firm behind Grand Theft Auto.

Kurtaj, a key figure in Lapsus$, targeted Rockstar, the developers of GTA VI, stealing code and video footage as part of a lucrative blackmail campaign

Additionally, he blackmailed telecoms giant BT/EE, demanding a £3.19 million ransom. Alongside a 17-year-old accomplice, Kurtaj hacked NVIDIA, Uber, and the online bank Revolut between July 2021 and February 2022.

The seven-week trial in August resulted in Kurtaj’s conviction on 12 charges, including unauthorized computer acts, fraud, blackmail, and unauthorized access to computer material. 

Disturbingly, during the sentencing hearing, Kurtaj expressed an intention to return to a life of crime upon release, prompting Judge Patricia Lees to order his indefinite psychiatric detention under section 37 of the Mental Health Act with a restriction order.

The 17-year-old accomplice, who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and was 14 at the start of the offenses, received a youth rehabilitation order for 18 months with three months of supervision. 

The jury found him guilty of unauthorized acts related to hacking, fraud, and blackmail, specifically in relation to NVIDIA.

Judge Lees labeled Kurtaj and his accomplice as “key players in a spree of cyber offenses” targeting major tech companies, resulting in significant financial losses.

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Cybercrime Sparks Call for Mental Health Solutions

18-year-old-masterminds-$9M-cyber-heist-grand-theft-auto-6-unveiled
18-year-old Arion Kurtaj, an autistic member of the Lapsus$ cyber-crime group, has been handed an indefinite hospital order for orchestrating a multi-million-pound hacking campaign that caused £7 million in damages to various corporations, including the firm behind Grand Theft Auto.

The damage inflicted on Rockstar Games due to the hacking of the highly anticipated GTA VI was deemed “unquantifiable.”

Prosecutor Kevin Barry revealed that the hacks on Rockstar, NVIDIA, and Uber cost the companies around £7.4 million ($9.3 million) in damages. 

The victims not only included corporations but also members of the public who suffered sim swap frauds, leading to drained accounts and disrupted lives.

The alarming hacking campaign exposed the defendants’ ability to compromise systems, causing disruptions for over 8,000 customers. 

Kurtaj’s proficiency in concealing his identity and engaging in sophisticated hacking techniques further highlighted the severity of the cybercrimes committed.

Despite being labeled a ‘genius’ by his defense, Kurtaj’s actions prompted the judge to emphasize the need for rehabilitation. 

She noted potential employment opportunities for him in the future but underscored that he must actively choose a different path.

The case serves as a stark reminder of the serious consequences of cybercrimes and the imperative to address mental health concerns within the legal framework.

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