Arion Kurtaj, the 18-year-old hacker responsible for leaking an early build of Rockstar Games’ upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6, has been sentenced by a court to an indefinite stay in a secure hospital.
Kurtaj was identified and apprehended shortly after GTA 6’s source code appeared on forums and social media. The GTA 6 reveal was recently leaked in an unrelated hack. After being caught, he was diagnosed as acutely autistic and therefore unfit to face trial. Hence, the jury was instructed to simply decide whether he was responsible for the crimes and not the intent behind them.
As a member of the international hacker group Lapsus$, Kurtaj and his constituents allegedly perpetrated digital intrusions against a long list of tech companies including Uber, Revolut, Microsoft, Nvidia, and British Telecom. The group is also linked to a hack perpetrated against City of London Police. The various hacks allegedly caused millions of dollars in damages, with Rockstar claiming that the leak of the GTA 6 trailer cost the company $5 million and thousands of hours of work for its staff.
What happened to the GTA 6 hacker?
The hacker behind the leaked GTA 6 trailer faces an indefinite hospital order, and will only be released once doctors believe he is no longer likely to commit crimes.
Judge Patricia Lees stated that Kurtaj’s skills made him a high risk to the public at large. His pre-trial assessment stated that he “continued to express the intent to return to cybercrime as soon as possible.”
Kurtaj allegedly committed the GTA 6 hack while out on bail after being arrested for a different crime. He was charged with the hacking of Nvidia in February 2022, as well as Revolut and BT in 2021. After being bailed out and placed under police protection at a Travelodge hotel, he reportedly used his cell phone and the hotel room’s TV and Amazon Firestick to breach Rockstar Games’ on September 19, 2022.
It was at this point, that Kurtaj stole 90 clips of in-game footage from the yet-to-be-announced Grand Theft Auto 6. He then accessed Rockstar Games‘ Slack messaging system to post a ransom message. Kurtaj later posted both the clips and source code using the handle “TeaPotUberHacker.” The name is an apparent reference to his hack of Uber.
Kurtaj was subsequently re-arrested. While held in custody, he was allegedly violent and destroyed property.
Kurtaj’s defense team claimed that the GTA 6 trailer’s huge success, hitting 128 million views on YouTube over four days, was evidence of no serious harm having been committed to Rockstar Games. The argument was unsuccessful. With this sentence he could face life in a hospital.