back to article Lapsus$ teen sentenced to indefinite detention in hospital for Nvidia, GTA cyberattacks

Two British teens who were members of the Lapsus$ gang have been sentenced for their roles in a cyber-crime spree that included compromising Uber, Nvidia, and fintech firm Revolut, and also blackmailing Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar Games. Arion Kurtaj, 18, of Oxfordshire, was sentenced Thursday to detention at a hospital in …

  1. HuBo
    WTF?

    Fascist pigs now targeting kids

    You know this better than I. Few years back, you hacked into Yahoo!, Pacific Bell, and NORAD, and your were a hero, a legend, Kevin Mitnick (RIP 2023)! What's this now that kids hacking into Grand Theft Auto (a game! for heaven's sake!) are straitjacketed and electroshocked like Clockwork Oranges! This way out-of-bounds porcine authoritarianism must stop! Now!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

      Go back to school,learn to read, and do a little research.

      Hint, look at the extortion part of their crimes.

      1. HuBo
        Gimp

        Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

        Well, I guess the words that stuck in your mind (from the article) were "extort", "blackmail", and "cybercrime". Those that stuck in mine were different: "17-year-old", "18", "teen", "autism", "hospitalized", and "mental health", along with "Revolut", and "Grand Theft Auto" (GTA). Other folks also interestingly noted "Travelodge", "Firestick", and "TV", in relation to an impressive stunt.

        This diversity of perspectives makes us stronger as a Kommentardariat to be sure. I do however, obviously, remain unanimous in my opinionated outrage at the virtual parading of kids as trophies of the hunt for cybercriminals, especially when Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is involved ( https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd ).

        1. Blazde Silver badge

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          I don't know what you mean by paraded. The 17 year old was not named because he's a kid (notwithstanding the odd exception to this rule eg. just yesterday). The 18 year old, legally in this country is an adult, and thus was named in a court open to the public and media.

          Either you're suggesting closed courts, or anonymity for convicted criminals, or anonymity only for mentally ill patients who've committed criminal acts? I can see some arguments in favour of the last one of those, but a lot more against.

          1. HuBo
            Thumb Up

            Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

            Good point!

        2. Cav Bronze badge

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          I'm on the spectrum - an Aspie. I work in IT. I don't break into other people's systems and extort them, releasing private data if they don't comply. Nor do I get violent when things don't go my way.

          This scumbag is where he belongs.

        3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          There is a depressingly long history of attempts to use Asperger's/ASD as an excuse for all sorts of crimes, from hacking through rape to murder, as long as the defence has enough money to convince an expert to diagnose. It does absolutely no good whatsoever for people who genuinely have these conditions.

        4. mpi Silver badge

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          Being young doesn't excuse everything.

          Neither does targeting a game company.

          And blackmailing people in a technically impressive way, is still blackmail.

    3. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

      I would have more sympathy, if it weren't a ransomware gang.

      But chucking him in a loony bin and lobtomising him with drugs does seem a little excessive, i must say

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

        Yep, big difference between guys like Mitnick hacking for the sake of hacking/learning, versus someone doing it purely for profit and resorting to blackmail via releasing or destroying data if they weren't paid off. I have no problem with his sentence - if he was fit to stand trial he would be in prison instead of hospital, and deservedly so.

        Autism doesn't strip you of the ability to know right from wrong on the scale he and his fellow "gang" members were doing wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

        But chucking him in a loony bin and lobotomising him with drugs does seem a little excessive, i must say

        On the plus side, this may finally put a stop to f*ckwits claiming autism and Aspergers as a way to avoid punishment for their crimes. Not only do people so tuned know very well the difference between right and wrong, every time one of these [censored] gets away with it it also stigmatises a whole group of people who have done nothing wrong.

        The threat of being incarcerated and pretty much being locked up in their own mind with happy pills might just temper the enthusiasm of the next l33t nitwit causing damage and hurting innocents.

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          "may finally put a stop to f*ckwits claiming autism and Aspergers as a way to avoid punishment for their crimes"

          It's a shame I can only upvote this once.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          I love the vile acne of anonymous puss in the morning. Smells like zitctory!

      3. HuBo
        Holmes

        Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

        "chucking him in a loony bin and lobtomising him with drugs does seem a little excessive"

        Right on! The most prolific hackers too often meet with untimely or torturous demises, out of the vindictive witch-trialing undercurrents of accusatory right-thinking "society". From "will she float?" to forced sterilization, the list is long; Alan Turing, Aaron Swartz, Arion Kurtaj, ...

        1. Cav Bronze badge

          Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

          Let me guess, you are this guy, aren't you?!

          1. HuBo
            Pirate

            Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

            Naaaah. Just sailing the high seas of anachrony it seems, with captain Goatse maneuvering Louise's Boat in LulzSec nostalgia ... Lapsus$'s TeaPotUberHacker might be a different breed of cyberbuccaneer altogether though if this feedback is to be believed ...

            1. HuBo
              Pirate

              Re: Fascist pigs now targeting kids

              ... then again, if one reads last year's coverage and comments on the previous episode of this saga ( https://www.theregister.com/2022/09/19/grand_theft_auto_6_hacked/ ) ...

  2. Derezed
    Thumb Up

    Isn’t being held in a Travelodge cruel and unusual punishment? I’d take Broadmoor as a pleasant upgrade. I want to hear if he hacks NORAD using a piece of wire, a gold tooth and a medium.

    1. Kane
      Joke

      "I want to hear if he hacks NORAD using a piece of wire, a gold tooth and a medium."

      Three small sticks and 4cc of mouse blood.

  3. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Boffin

    "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

    I'm seriously impressed. If it was a movie, I'd be laughing at how unrealistic this is and complaining about clueless writers.

    1. Blazde Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

      In the movie in my head he ends up in a custom-built air-gapped Faraday cage. The Magneto treatment.

      Until one day a nurse messes up and leaves the outer door slightly ajar. Arion uses a toothbrush to aerosolarise the powdered milk he's carefully accumulated, and blows it gently through the gap in the door, which triggers smoke detectors in the fire control system and causes a hospital-wide evacuation protocol. Six attendants come to escort him out of his cage. The next cut shows an attendant's smartwatch conspicuously missing and then Broadmoor's main gates open, all the lights go off everywhere and we, the viewer, already know he's escaped.

      1. ProfessorLarry

        Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

        Dang, as a novelist with a string of techno thrillers I am impressed. Nice plot precis. What is your nom de plume? I'll look for the novel on Kindle in a year or so.

        1. Blazde Silver badge

          Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

          Well I'm currently carrying out research(*) before drafting my first screenplay.

          (*) This mostly involves watching all the existing movies. After that nothing will hold me back. Although, maybe I'll study a few of your novels first as well ;)

    2. John Riddoch

      Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

      He's either really, really good or Rockstar's security was really, really atrocious. Possibly a bit of both, to be honest, but I agree it's pretty darned impressive.

      1. mpi Silver badge

        Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

        Usually when impressive "hacks" like this are being presented to the press, it all seems very "Password Swordfish" - Level impressive.

        Then later, 99/100 times, it turns out that a) someone was simply duped over the phone or b) someone else did the actual legwork or c) similar unimpressive reality.

    3. Roopee Bronze badge

      Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

      That was my first thought too - unrealistic script!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "broke into Rockstar Games using an Amazon Firestick, his room's TV, and a phone"

      This is the tip of the iceberg. They had access to literally hundreds of organisations.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "assessed by psychiatrists as not fit to stand trial"

    I wonder if the psychiatrists took into account that this gang have proved highly manipulative "The crew's tactics included phone-based social engineering".

    I wonder who was assessing who.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Alert

      this gang have proved highly manipulative "The crew's tactics included phone-based social engineering".

      Like you, I used to think that social engineering required high-level con skills. However, I've since learned that there are scam labor camps in South-East Asia, where people are kidnapped and forced to work on online scams: 7 Months Inside an Online Scam Labor Camp

      The implication is that you can kidnap a random Chinese farmer, chain him to a desk with a bunch of phones and a script, and he'll manage to scam people online. No highly-manipulative social engineering skills needed, it's that easy.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        The random chines farmer won't have written his own script.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        The gangs doing this have a tendency to make themselves obvious so anyone with an ounce of critical thinking will drop off their target list immediately

        That leaves the vulnerable (hard of thinking) as easy prey

    2. Valeyard

      After reading the psychopath test I've come to realise that blagging your way into a mental health facility to avoid prison time has really backfired on people in a big way; prison has a defined exit time, mental health places do not

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        True, but short-term thinking doesn't work that way.

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        "blagging your way into a mental health facility to avoid prison time"

        That's the idea in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

      3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        QUote

        " prison has a defined exit time, mental health places do not"

        But you're in hospital because you are ill, the moment you are 'well enough' they tend to kick you out of such places and into 'care in the community'

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          A friend of mine was sexually assaulted by a boy a year about a year older than her when she was about 12, she informed her mum, police were involved.

          He was arrested, assessed & detained in a mental unit, as a risk to others, I don't believe it ever went to trial.

          She's 41 now & he's never left it.

        2. Snapshot

          Not in secure units like Broadmoor. As it says in the article, he will need to be assessed by a Mental Health Review Tribunal. The patient may appeal to be reviewed or may be referred by the DoH (IIRC) on the recommendation of those treating the patient. The tribunals are chaired by a solicitor; the other members are a GP and a layman. The tribunal's decision is absolute - if they think the patient is fit to be released then he/she/it is released. If not, he stays in.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Not if you're there by court order

          The vast majority of people in mental health institutions are there voluntarily or by medical advice

    3. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

      Kurtaj had reportedly been violent while in custody, and the court heard dozens of reports of injury or property damage. During his sentencing hearing, a mental health assessment determined that Kurtaj "continued to express the intent to return to cybercrime as soon as possible. He is highly motivated."

      I believe the criteria "doesn't know right from wrong" is used to establish mental incapacity for self-reform. Maybe he does know but has his poles reversed?

  5. cookieMonster Silver badge
    Joke

    What’s the bet

    that Kurtaj ends up a CEO somewhere in the future?

    From reading the article it appears he has all the qualities.

    /Joke icon, but I’m not sure

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: What’s the bet

      Not a BOFH on the dark side?

  6. Joe Gurman

    Given that it appears….

    …. that every youthful UK perpetrator of every leading perpetrator of every major intrusion into the networks of commercial firms and government agencies is autistic, maybe HM government need to consider a safe and supportive institution in which to confine such talented if non-neurotypical youth, away from the temptations of the Internet, which their parents are clearly not capable of doing.

    Either that or, given the equally criminal proclivities of Tory ministers, just ship ‘em all off to Rwanda.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: Given that it appears….

      Perhaps it should just provide better mental healthcare and education so that parents don't have to struggle to get help for their neurodivergent children. Make it so that it's just a regular thing, no harder than any other part of being a parent, rather than something that can take a significantly larger portion of the parents' time and energy than caring for a neurotypical child, and often becoming simply impossible. There would still be those who don't avail themselves of the resources, because people are dumb, but far fewer.

      1. doublerot13

        Re: Given that it appears….

        This is so true. I have many friends and contacts in this area and the divorce rate of parents of neurodivergent children is amazingly high. One carer described it as "all of them". Raising neurodivergent children is that difficult.

        1. LoPath
          Meh

          Re: Given that it appears….

          I'm the exception on the "all of them" description, but it's been damn tough. My son is now 22 years old.

          1. doublerot13

            Re: Given that it appears….

            > I'm the exception on the "all of them" description, but it's been damn tough. My son is now 22 years old.

            Sincerely mate, respect. Hope you and your family are well.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Given that it appears….

      "maybe HM government need to consider a safe and supportive institution in which to confine such talented if non-neurotypical youth"

      Israel tried that with Ehud Tennenbaum. It didn't work out so well

      I'm aware of a few similar cases in the USA, including one who attempted to kill the FBI agents investigating his hacking

  7. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Unfortunately, that is probably a near life sentence for him if he's severely autistic and unemotional/detached as a result.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bum note

    Doesn’t sound like Rockstar has the greatest security.

    No wonder they were the greatest hit.

  9. doublerot13

    disgraceful on many levels...

    I know hacking has always carried sentences way longer than crimes with real impact, such as rape and violence, but this takes the biscuit.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: disgraceful on many levels...

      When you have a recidivist offender who's determined to carry on by any means possible, preventative detention is about the only viable sentence

      These aren't victimless crimes and a good chunk of the money involved ends up in the hands of either organised crime or terrorist organisations

      1. doublerot13

        Re: disgraceful on many levels...

        > When you have a recidivist offender who's determined to carry on by any means possible, preventative detention is about the only viable sentence

        So we apply "lock em up for life" to all crimes now?

        > These aren't victimless crimes and a good chunk of the money involved ends up in the hands of either organised crime or terrorist organisations

        Personally, I think crimes against a person that impact / ruin the rest of their lives are a touch more serious than taking an early peek at a product the developer wants to hype up as much as possible - and should have the in-house skills to block.

        OMG you said "terrorism", I take it all back.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw away the key

    GTA was the least of his hacks.

    Google "Lapsus$" (he wasn't a "member", he founded it, as a follow up to his "Recursion Team" group, sim swapping and inventing Emergency Data Request (EDR) abuse). Though arguably the rest of the (mainly Brazilian, but also UK and PT) Lapsus$ group had plenty of responsibility, too.) and check out the victim list. Nvidia, Microsoft and others also had source code stolen. Hundreds of victim companies. Health data of entire countries. Law Enforcement and Government departments. And extortion.

    In a hearing, Kurtaj said to the judge that he can't wait to go back to the crime the second he is released. As he did when he was earlier released pre-trial.

    He's a violent, cruel menace to society. Keeping him confined is for the common hood. And he's sick, and getting badly needed treatment.

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