British prosecutors say teen Lapsus$ member was behind hacks on Uber, Rockstar
A British Crown Court on Tuesday lifted a reporting restriction, allowing the naming of teenager Arion Kurtaj who is accused of hacking Uber, Revolut, and video game developer Rockstar Games in a short period of time last September.
Kurtaj, now 18, has been deemed not fit to stand trial by medical professionals. The jury will decide whether he is liable for the hacking incidents rather than guilty of them.
The teenager has been charged with 12 offenses, including three counts of blackmail, two counts of fraud, and six charges under the Computer Misuse Act, as reported by Reuters.
Prosecutors allege that Kurtaj was a member of the Lapsus$ hacking gang but acted independently when he broke into the systems of ride-hailing business Uber, fintech firm Revolut, and the developer of Grand Theft Auto in a spate of successive incidents in September 2022.
Kurtaj, alongside a 17-year-old who may not be named for legal reasons, has also been accused of attempting to blackmail the telecommunications company BT as well as the graphics-card maker Nvidia as part of their activities with the Lapsus$ gang.
The 17-year-old is being tried for two counts of blackmail, two counts of fraud, and three charges under the Computer Misuse Act, all of which relate to the alleged Lapsus$ activities targeting BT and Nvidia.
He has denied these charges, although he had previously pleaded guilty to two offenses under the Computer Misuse Act and one count of fraud.
At the time of the Uber hack, a person claiming to be responsible contacted The New York Times and security researchers to claim they had managed to access the ride-hailing company's computer network through social engineering.
Uber said the hacker had posted what was described as pornographic material to an internal information page for employees, alongside the message: “Fuck you wankers.”
The Grand Theft Auto incident was disclosed on a fan forum for the video game series by an individual who claimed to have also hacked Uber. This individual then shared a link to clips from Grand Theft Auto 6, a title which Rockstar had not publicly confirmed was in development.
At the time of the Revolut incident, some users on Reddit reported seeing messages with inappropriate language on the app’s support chat. Revolut replied that it was aware of those messages and “taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
Prosecutors said that the hacking incidents were linked to the teens by investigators who found their IP addresses through a number of email and Telegram accounts which the pair allegedly used to boast about their antics.
Alexander Martin is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.