A UK judge has sentenced 18-year-old hacker Arion Kurtaj to an indefinite stay in a secure hospital after he leaked footage from Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 6 and was deemed unfit to stand trial due to severe autism.
In August, Kurtaj was found guilty of multiple hacking-related charges involving several tech companies, including Uber and Nvidia. The court ruled that he posed a danger to society.
The hacker was initially arrested in January 2022, alongside an unidentified 17-year-old, and released on bail during the investigation. He was re-arrested in March 2022 and placed under house arrest in a Travelodge motel for his protection.
From the hotel room, Kurtaj managed to hack into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Fire TV Stick connected to the television. He accessed the company’s Slack channels and threatened to release the source code if Rockstar did not contact him within 24 hours.
During sentencing on Thursday, the judge declared Kurtaj unfit to stand trial, remanding him to an indefinite stay at a secure hospital unless doctors determine he is no longer a danger to the public. The judge emphasized Kurtaj’s “skills and desire to commit cyber-crime,” deeming him a high risk.
Prosecutors presented evidence of Kurtaj’s violent behavior in custody, along with reports of injury or property damage. A mental health assessment revealed that Kurtaj expressed the intent to return to cybercrime as soon as possible, indicating a high level of motivation.
Part of the international hacking group Lapsus$, Kurtaj’s attacks on Uber, Nvidia, and Rockstar Games reportedly cost the companies nearly $10 million in combined losses.
City of London Police Detective Chief Superintendent Amanda Horsburgh highlighted the case as an example of the dangers young people face online and the serious consequences it can have for their future. She urged awareness of the potential risks associated with exploring technology, emphasizing the importance of responsible online behavior among young individuals.