GTA 6 Hacker Found To Be Teen With Amazon Fire Stick In Small Town Hotel Room
International cybercrime, as portrayed by movies and media, is a high-stakes game of shadowy government agencies and state-sponsored hacking groups. Hollywood casting will bring out a character in a black hoodie and shades, possibly carrying a metal briefcase, as they board an executive jet.
These things shouldn’t happen in a cheap hotel room in your insignificant hometown, but the story of a British teenager who was caught leaking the closely guarded details of Grand Theft Auto 6 in a Travelodge room in Bicester, Oxfordshire takes the action from the global to the local for a Hackaday scribe. Bicester is a small town known mostly for a bad outlet mall and as a hostel stop on the London Marylebone line, it’s not exactly Vice City.
The teenager in question is one [Arion Kurtaj], breathlessly reported by the BBC as part of the Lapsus$ gang, which is a sensational way of talking about a group of kids who are experts at computer hacking but seem incapable of being criminals. After compromising British telecoms, he was discovered by another group and captured by the authorities before being moved to the hotel for his own safety.
This is where the story gets more interesting for Hackaday readers as, despite being denied access to a computer, he bought an Amazon Fire stick presumably at Argos in Sainsburys next door and plugged it into the Travelodge TV. Using this, he was able to access cloud services, we assume a virtual Linux environment or similar, before proceeding to compromise other organizations, including Rockstar Games, to leak this GTA 6 footage. He has not yet been sentenced, but we assume he will continue to spend some time at His Majesty’s pleasure.
The hometown moment of excitement and sensationalist reporting aside, we can’t help but feel sad that a teenager with such a level of talent has clearly not received the support and encouragement from Oxfordshire’s education system necessary to put it to better use. Hopefully, when he’s older and wiser, teenage convictions won’t stop him from having a rewarding career in the field.