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UK Teen Gets Indefinite Hospital Order For ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Hack

Arion Kurtaj was found responsible by a British court of carrying out one of the biggest breaches in the history of the video game industry

A British teenage hacker has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital stay to be treated for his inability to control himself online. Arion Kurtaj, 18, was found responsible by a British court in August of carrying out one of the biggest breaches in the history of the video game industry between August 2020 and September 2022 when he went on an unprecedented hacking spree that targeted the makers of “Grand Theft Auto”, among others.

A jury concluded that Kurtaj, whom psychiatrists deemed unfit to stand trial, had carried out numerous computer misuse, fraud and blackmail offences.

Prosecutors described him as one of the “key players” in the so-called Lapsus$ group that hacked Rockstar Games in 2022 and published footage from its still unreleased “Grand Theft Auto 6”.

He also threatened Rockstar that he would leak the hacked source code for its latest Grand Theft Auto releases onto internet forums.

Kurtaj received the hospital order at Guildford Crown Court near London on Thursday, City of London police said in a statement.

British media reported that Kurtaj, who has autism, will remain at a secure hospital for life unless doctors deem him no longer a danger.

Kurtaj and a 17-year-old youth, whose name cannot be published because of his age, were also accused of hacking software company Nvidia in February 2022 and threatening to release its intellectual property.

Prosecutors said the pair hacked the servers of broadband provider BT and mobile operator EE before demanding a $4 million ransom.

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The 17-year-old was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order for fraud and blackmail on Thursday.

In a statement, City of London police urged parents to make sure they know what their children are up to online.

“This case serves as an example of the dangers that young people can be drawn towards whilst online and the serious consequences it can have for someone’s broader future,” said detective chief superintendent Amanda Horsburgh.

Grand Theft Auto 5, the last iteration of the game that revolves around heists and street violence, was released in 2013 and has since sold 190 million copies and generated some $8.5 billion in revenue.

Earlier this month, Rockstar released a trailer for the sixth installment of the game, expected to be released in 2025.

Written By

AFP 2023


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