In a world where Hollywood often paints hackers as enigmatic figures equipped with sophisticated technology, the reality can sometimes be startlingly different. Instead of high-tech gadgets and fancy setups, a simple Amazon Fire TV stick, a smartphone, keyboard, and mouse were enough for Arion Kurtaj, a member of the hacking group Lapsus$, to leak videos from the highly anticipated game Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA 6). Surprisingly, he accomplished this while staying in a UK hotel room.
Teen Hacker’s Surprising Tools
Kurtaj, an 18-year-old, managed to breach Rockstar Games, the company behind GTA VI. SHockingly, he boldly declared himself to be the “attacker” in the firm’s Slack channel. Strangely, the scene of his hacking was a hotel room in a Travelodge, where he had been placed by officials. He had been moved there after hackers exposed his personal details online, putting his safety at risk. Despite being denied internet access, Kurtaj ingeniously used the Fire TV Stick to bypass this restriction, as reported by BBC News.
Convictions and the Lapsus$ Group
More details of Kurtaj’s illegal activities came to light after a seven-week trial, during which he was found guilty of hacking Rockstar, neobank Revolut, and Uber. Another 17-year-old was also convicted, though unlike Kurtaj, they are currently out on bail. Both individuals have autism, and psychiatrists ruled that they were not fit to stand trial. As a result, the jury only determined if the acts were committed, not whether they were intended as crimes.
The group Lapsus$, described in court as “digital bandits,” is believed to consist mainly of teenagers from Brazil and the UK. Among them, Kurtaj and the unnamed 17-year-old are two of the seven members arrested in the UK. In the span of 2021 to 2022, Lapsus$ allegedly hacked companies like Samsung, T-Mobile, and Microsoft. They even demanded ransoms, but the exact amount they gained from these exploits remains uncertain.