Teen GTA VI hacker sentenced to life in a secure hospital

GTA VI artwork, showing the game’s protagonist and her boyfriend sitting on the hood of a muscle car with palm trees behind them.

The 18-year-old Lapsus$ hacker who played a critical role in leaking Grand Theft Auto VI footage has been sentenced to life inside a hospital prison, according to a report from the BBC. A British judge ruled on Thursday that Arion Kurtaj is a high risk to the public because he still wants to commit cybercrimes.

In August, a London jury found that Kurtaj carried out cyberattacks against GTA VI developer Rockstar Games and other companies, including Uber and Nvidia. However, since Kurtaj has autism and was deemed unfit to stand trial, the jury was asked to determine whether he committed the acts in question, not whether he did so with criminal intent.

During Thursday’s hearing, the court heard Kurtaj “had been violent while in custody with dozens of reports of injury or property damage,” the BBC reports. A mental health assessment also found that Kurtaj “continued to express the intent to return to cybercrime as soon as possible.” He’s required to stay in the hospital prison for life unless doctors determine that he’s no longer a danger.

Kurtaj leaked 90 videos of GTA VI gameplay footage last September while out on bail for hacking Nvidia and British telecom provider BT / EE. Although he stayed at a hotel under police protection during this time, Kurtaj still managed to carry out an attack on Rockstar Games by using the room’s included Amazon Fire Stick and a “newly purchased smart phone, keyboard and mouse,” according to a separate BBC report. Kurtaj was arrested for the final time following the incident.

Another 17-year-old involved with Lapsus$ was handed an 18-month community sentence, called a Youth Rehabilitation Order, and a ban from using virtual private networks.

The official trailer for GTA VI dropped earlier this month, racking up hundreds of millions of views even after the trove of videos leaked by Kurtaj and the trailer’s premature release on X (formerly Twitter). While Kurtaj’s defense asked the judge to take the trailer’s success into account during the sentencing, the BBC says the judge argued that real companies and people were hurt by Lapsus$. Rockstar Games said it spent $5 million recovering from the attack.

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