The Morning After: ‘GTA VI’ hacker leaked game footage with a Fire TV Stick

From their hotel room while they were on bail.

Rockstar Games

All you need to leak footage from a highly anticipated, multimillion-dollar game is an Amazon Fire TV stick and a cheap UK hotel. That massive Grand Theft Auto VI leak came from Arion Kurtaj, a member of hacking group Lapsus$. And he managed to do so while already on bail for allegedly hacking NVIDIA.

The 18-year-old infiltrated GTA creators Rockstar Games, even announcing himself as an "attacker" in the company's Slack channel. While on bail, he was not allowed internet access, but he circumvented that with a Fire TV Stick (as well as a newly purchased smartphone and keyboard) from a hotel, just outside Oxford, UK.

Further details of the attack became public following a seven-week trial and his being found guilty of hacking Rockstar, Revolut and Uber. A 17-year-old was also convicted but, unlike Kurtaj, is still out on bail. Lapsus$ comprises mostly teenagers from Brazil and the UK — Kurtaj and the unnamed 17-year-old are two of seven members arrested in the UK. Between 2021 and 2022, Lapsus$ also allegedly hacked Samsung, T-Mobile and Microsoft. The group’s motives seem to vary from attack to attack but appear to be a mix of financial gain through blackmail and sheer amusement.

It’s also unclear how much Lapsus$ has made from its cybercrimes. No companies have publicly admitted to paying the hackers.

– Mat Smith

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