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British teens accused of hacks against Uber and Rockstar Games's Grand Theft Auto 6


July 14, 2023

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British teens accused of hacks against Uber and Rockstar Games's Grand Theft Auto 6

A London court has heard that two British teens hacked and blackmailed a series of companies, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

As Reuters reports, Arion Kurtaj - now 18 years old - is accused of hacking Uber, fintech firm Revolut, and Grand Theft Auto videogame developer Rockstar Games last September.

The Rockstar hack resulted in the leak of more than 90 videos of footage from the as-yet-unreleased "Grand Theft Auto 6".

But the damage done by the hacks is not limited to the spilling of video game secrets.

For instance, cybercriminals may not have wasted much time in attempting to defraud innocent users through abuse of data stolen through some of the hacks.

For instance, in September 2022, scammers sent out waves of SMS text messages, posing as official communications from Revolut.  Some of the messages claimed that users' accounts had been frozen, and attempted to trick them into visiting phishing pages.

In addition, Kurtaj is accused of attempting to blackmail telcoms firm BT and graphics card maker NVIDIA alongside a 17-year-old who has not been named for legal reasons, as part of a wave of attacks undertaken under the banner of the notorious LAPSUS$ hacking gang.

The LAPSUS$ hackers bragged that the security breach at NVIDIA had resulted in the theft of up to one terabyte of data, including source code, as well as the email addresses and hashed passwords of employees.

Many of the leaked hashed passwords were subsequently cracked, revealing that some NVIDIA employees were choosing some very poor passwords.

What is particularly audacious, if true, are prosecution claims that the 17-year-old had actually hacked cloud storage used by City of London Police, just weeks after the same police force arrested him in connection with hacking attacks on telecom firms BT and EE.

Both teenagers are alleged to have attempted to extort money out of BT, by threatening to release stolen data.  In addition, prosecutors have claimed that they defrauded cryptocurrency investors through SIM Swap scams.

Psychiatrists have assessed Kurtaj as not been fit to stand trial, and so a jury will only decide if he is liable for the alleged crimes, rather than guilty.  He would also not be sent to jail.

The 17-year-old, meanwhile, has pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with the hack of BT, but not guilty to others.

Kurtaj's trial is set to last eight weeks.




Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s.

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