The hacker responsible for leaking in-development videos of Grand Theft Auto VI last year has been reportedly confined to a secure hospital — for an indefinite period. As per BBC News, an 18-year-old individual named Arion Kurtaj, who was part of the notorious cybercrime group Lapsus$, was deemed unfit to stand trial due to acute autism diagnosis. So, based on a mental assessment, the jury was asked to decide whether the heinous act was committed with criminal intent — resulting in the claim that the individual was ‘highly motivated’ to return to crime. As such, he has been sentenced to life in hospital indefinitely until he’s deemed as no longer dangerous to people.
Kurtaj was arrested back in September 2022 on suspicion of the Rockstar Games hack, during which he pled not guilty and faced trial for the crimes his cybercrime group committed against Nvidia and Uber. “The jury was told that while he was on bail for hacking Nvidia and BT/EE and in police protection at a Travelodge hotel, he continued hacking and carried out his most infamous hack,” the report states. The hack was seemingly carried out in a hotel room, which he performed using an Amazon Firestick, a television, and a smartphone. (His laptop was allegedly confiscated from a previous breach attack.) Having gained access to the company’s Slack group, he boldly threatened to release the GTA 6 source code within the next 24 hours unless Rockstar negotiated with him over the Telegram messaging app.
While not explicitly mentioned, Rockstar might have declined his requests, leading to Kurtaj releasing over 90 clips from the highly anticipated video game into the wilds, in what could be called one of the biggest leaks in gaming history. Earlier this month, the company dropped the first trailer for GTA VI, showing off some in-engine footage and a glimpse at our two leads, Lucia and Jason. That video garnered 62 million views within just 13 hours of release, causing Kurtaj’s defence team to argue that the leaks barely put a dent in the game’s success and that no serious harm was caused. However, Rockstar argued that the leak spoiled thousands of hours put into development and affected the team morale, causing $5 million worth of damage for recovery. In addition to Kurtaj, another unnamed 17-year-old male was convicted of partaking in the cyberattack on Nvidia and stealing cryptocurrency.
More recently, another AAA game studio Insomniac Games fell victim to a ransomware attack, with the responsible cybercrime group releasing 1.67TB of confidential data into the wild, including a fully functioning build of the upcoming Wolverine game, emails between employees and their personal information, presentations on future release slate, sales figures, and more. Game developers around the world have united to shower love and support to the affected and denounced hacks which could endanger people’s lives.