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Notorious 18-Year-old GTA Hacker Gets Frightening Life Sentence

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By Christian Webster - - 5 Mins Read
Hacker arrested and placed in handcuffs
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In September 2022, Arion Kurtaj, a notorious member of the international hacking group Lapsus, was apprehended in Oxford by London law enforcement.


This came after a series of cyberattacks resulted in the leakage of confidential materials from Rockstar Games, including details about the highly anticipated blockbuster, GTA 6.


Despite his claims of innocence, Kurtaj faced trial for various cybercrimes, including hacking into Uber and Nvidia's security systems.


Meanwhile, this article delves into the aftermath of his actions, shedding light on the repercussions and controversy surrounding the GTA 6 leaks.

The Trail and Kurtaj's Mental State

 Due to his acute autism, Arion Kurtaj's mental state was deemed unstable by medical professionals, preventing him from standing trial.


However, this did not absolve him of responsibility, as the jury found him guilty of the hacks. Kurtaj managed to breach Rockstar Games' systems from the confines of his hotel room, utilizing nothing more than an Amazon Firestick.


His audaciousness extended to proclaiming his hacker identity on the company's Slack platform and issuing threats to release GTA 6's source code if his demands were not met via Telegram.


During the trial, a mental health assessment revealed that Kurtaj possessed a strong inclination to return to cybercrime, highlighting his motivation.


Arion Kurtaj pictured in a boat
Arion Kurtaj | YouTube


Witnesses testified to his display of violent behavior while in custody. Consequently, secure confinement for the remainder of his life was ordered as punishment for his actions.


The GTA 6 leak was one instance of a pervasive wave of cyberattacks targeting major game studios and publishers.


Companies like CD Projekt Red, Capcom, and Insomniac Games have also fallen victim to similar breaches.


Unlike these incidents, Kurtaj's actions primarily resulted in the exposure of gameplay clips.


While these clips did reveal certain aspects of the highly anticipated game, Kurtaj's defense argued that the immense success of GTA 6's official trailer, now the most-viewed video on YouTube, suggested his actions did not have a detrimental effect on potential sales, contrary to claims made by Rockstar Games and others.

Lapsus: The Hacking Group

Kurtaj's links to the infamous international hacking group Lapsus further implicate him in breaching the security of Uber, Nvidia, and Rockstar Games.


These companies reported staggering damages, with an estimated $10 million suffering from the hacks. Rockstar Games alone incurred $5 million in recovery efforts and countless man-hours spent by their staff.


The BBC reported that Kurtaj, while on bail after hacking Nvidia, managed to infiltrate Rockstar Games' internal Slack channel using an Amazon Firestick, his hotel TV, and a mobile phone.


Through a Grand Theft Auto fan forum, he shared over 90 video clips, totaling over an hour's worth of footage from the unreleased game.


These leaks confirmed previous speculations by Bloomberg, revealing the game's setting as a fictionalized version of Miami, named Vice City in the franchise.


Furthermore, the leaks disclosed the inclusion of a playable female character named Lucia alongside another protagonist named Jason. Notably, the official trailer for GTA 6 was also leaked before its official release.

Judicial Disagreement and Sentencing Outcome

Despite the astronomical success of the leaked trailer, which accumulated 90 million views within 24 hours and reached 155 million views two weeks later, the judge dismissed Kurtaj's defence arguments.


Acknowledging the harm inflicted on individuals and companies and Kurtaj's desire to continue hacking, the judge concluded that the damage caused was extensive.


Additionally, reports indicate violent behavior by Kurtaj in custody, with various incidents of injury or property damage attributed to him.