A judge sentenced the teen hacker who leaked GTA 6 footage to a secure hospital until doctors say he can leave

A poster promoting Grand Theft Auto V is attached to a wall at the 8 Bit & Up video games shop in Manhattan's East Village on September 18, 2013 in New York City.
Police arrested a teenage hacker who leaked Grand Theft Auto 6 clips.Mario Tama/Getty
  • A judge sentenced an 18-year-old hacker who leaked GTA 6 footage to indefinite hospital seclusion.

  • The court ruled that Arion Kurtaj was a danger to society.

  • Kurtaj was deemed unfit to stand trial due to severe autism.

A UK judge on Friday sentenced the teenager who hacked Rockstar Games and leaked footage from Grand Theft Auto 6 to an indefinite stay in a secure hospital after he was deemed unfit to stand trial.

A court found Arion Kurtaj, 18, guilty in August of multiple accounts related to hacking several tech companies, including Uber and Nvidia, and releasing sensitive information.

Police first arrested Kurtaj in January 2022, along with an unidentified 17-year-old. They released the pair on bail as the investigation continued. Kurtaj was re-arrested in March 2022 and placed under house arrest in a Travelodge motel for his protection. From the hotel room, he managed to hack into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Fire TV Stick connected to the television.

Kurtaj accessed the company's Slack channels and posted a message that said, "If Rockstar does not contact me on Telegram within 24 hours I will start releasing the source code," according to The Guardian.

During his sentencing on Thursday, the judge declared Kurtaj unfit to stand trial due to severe autism, according to the BBC, remanding him to an indefinite stay at a secure hospital unless doctors deem him no longer a danger. The judge said Kurtaj's "skills and desire to commit cyber-crime" show that he is still a high risk to the public.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Kurtaj had been violent while in custody and accumulated dozens of reports of injury or property damage, according to the report.

A mental health assessment presented during the hearing said Kurtaj "continued to express the intent to return to cyber-crime as soon as possible" and added that he "is highly motivated," according to The Guardian.

Kurtaj was part of an international hacking group known as Lapsus$, whose attacks on Uber, Nvidia, and Rockstar Games have cost the companies nearly $10 million in combined losses, the BBC reported.

City of London Police Detective Chief Superintendent Amanda Horsburgh said the case "serves as an example of the dangers that young people can be drawn towards whilst online and the serious consequences it can have for someone's broader future," The Guardian reported.

"Many young people wish to explore how technology works and what vulnerabilities exist," she said, according to the outlet. "This can include learning to code, interacting with like-minded individuals online, and experimenting with tools. Unfortunately, the digital world can also be tempting to young people for the wrong reasons."

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