Autistic Teen Hacker Arion Kurtaj Faces Life in 'Secure Hospital' for Grand Theft Auto 6 Leak

Rockstar Gaming Claims $5 Million cost for recovery from the cyberattack.

In a landmark decision on Thursday, a British judge has sentenced 18-year-old hacker Arion Kurtaj to life in a hospital prison for leaking Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6) footage online. The BBC reports that the judge deemed Kurtaj a serious threat to public safety, citing his unyielding desire to engage in cybercrime.

Autistic teen leaks GTA6 videos

Kurtaj, a member of the hacking group Lapsus$, targeted not only GTA 6 developer Rockstar Games but also other major firms including Uber and Nvidia. Despite a jury in London determining in August that Kurtaj was responsible for cyberattacks, he was not tried for criminal intent due to his autism, rendering him unfit for trial. The jury's focus was solely on confirming whether he committed the alleged acts.

During Thursday's proceedings, the judge learned that Kurtaj had exhibited violent behavior while in custody, with numerous reports of injury and property damage. A mental health evaluation further revealed his continued expression of intent to return to cybercrime at the earliest opportunity. Kurtaj will remain incarcerated in the hospital prison unless medical professionals assess him as safe for release.

Leaked 90 GTA 6 footage

Kurtaj, who was out on bail for hacking Nvidia and British telecom company BT/EE, leaked 90 GTA 6 gameplay footage in September. Despite being under police protection at a hotel, he managed to hack Rockstar Games using an Amazon Fire Stick and a newly purchased smartphone, keyboard, and mouse, as reported by the BBC.

An additional member of Lapsus$, a 17-year-old, received an 18-month community sentence, known as a Youth Rehabilitation Order, along with a prohibition from using virtual private networks.

Grand Theft Auto 6
Twitch / GTAVI

Notably, the official trailer for GTA 6 was released earlier this month, garnering hundreds of millions of views despite Kurtaj's leak and the premature release of the trailer on X (formerly Twitter).

The judge dismissed Kurtaj's defense, which argued that the trailer's popularity should be considered in sentencing. The judge emphasized that Lapsus$ had caused tangible harm to real people and businesses, with Rockstar Games claiming a $5 million cost for recovery from the cyberattack.