How a teenager cost Rockstar Games $5 million in damages

How a teenager cost Rockstar Games $5 million in damages
Photo by Rockstar Games

Our events unfold with Hackerman, also known as Arion Kurtaj, a teenage prodigy who kicked off his hacking escapades at the tender age of 14, initially targeting Minecraft servers. However, this isn't your typical success story; it's a rollercoaster ride of hacking exploits, online disputes, and an unyielding thirst for attention.

So, Hackerman forms a hacking group named "Lapsus$", seeking the limelight through their audacious acts. Their claim to fame? Hacking a cybersecurity company - Okta, catapulting them into the headlines and fulfilling Hackerman's insatiable desire for attention.

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Seizing the momentum, he acquires a website for anonymous doxing, Doxbin – you know, exposing folks' secrets. Little did he know, it's a one-way ticket to his own downfall. A feud ensues with the previous website owner, let's call him "Chad."

Now, Chad is still in control of the platform and spills all the beans in a doxbin post, accusing Hackerman of swiping over 300 Bitcoins – that's a cool $14 million! Despite Hackerman's attempts, that post sticks, and boom, he's arrested.

Hackerman resurfaces with a vengeance after a brief stint behind bars, Unfazed by the legal consequences. His hacking group, shifts their focus to major corporations like NVIDIA, Samsung, Ubisoft, T-Mobile, and Microsoft – not for cash, just for the thrill and sweet attention. FBI's Most Wanted? Pfft, doesn't rattle the group.

Time ticks on, reality kicks in. Hackerman, realizing the mess, rings up Chad for an online cleanup. He wants that old post gone and some fake news planted to convince the FBI he's not with Lapsus$. Well, that plan crashes harder than bad Wi-Fi when Chad spills the conversation again in another post, earning Hackerman another date with the handcuffs. Talk about a self-inflicted hack job!

Released on bail and restricted from internet usage, Hackerman finds himself in a Travelodge hotel, awaiting trial. But unable to resist the allure of online notoriety, Hackerman crafts a makeshift computer using an Amazon Fire Stick, a Bluetooth keyboard, and a mouse.

He embarks on daring hacks against Uber and later, Rockstar Games, unveiling confidential information about the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI. How did he hack Rockstar Games though? quite simple. He called in and pretended to be an employee who lost access.

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The fallout from these exploits is colossal, as Rockstar Games told a U.K. court that it spent $5 million to recover from the hack. Finally, catching up with Hackerman, the London police arrest him in his hotel room. His brief stint in a young offenders institute unveils a troubled individual openly expressing intentions to resume hacking upon release.

After 11 months, Hackerman faces trial, but a judge deems him mentally unfit due to a complex autism spectrum disorder. Despite this, a jury finds him guilty, and he receives a life sentence in a psychiatric hospital. Unfazed, Hackerman claims he'll return to hacking as soon as he's released.

And thus, the saga of Hackerman, at least for now, concludes, leaving us with a cautionary tale of a teenage prodigy whose insatiable appetite for attention led him down a path of cybercrime and legal consequences. The digital world, it seems, is not always forgiving to those who seek its spotlight

Sources: BBC, The Verge

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