In a recent development reported by the BBC on Thursday, an 18-year-old hacker, identified as Kurtaj, has been handed an indefinite sentence in a high-security British hospital prison for his involvement in leaking footage of the highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto VI. The judge, citing concerns about public safety, determined that Kurtaj, who has autism, poses a significant threat due to his intent to continue carrying out cybercrimes if released.
During the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Kurtaj had displayed violent behavior while in custody, resulting in numerous reports of injuries and property damage. A mental health evaluation further indicated that he maintained a strong desire to engage in hacking activities in the near future. Consequently, the judge issued an indefinite hospital order, stipulating that Kurtaj must remain in the secure hospital facility until medical professionals determine that he no longer poses a threat to society.
Last August, a London jury found Kurtaj guilty of cyberattacks against several companies, including Rockstar Games, the developer of GTA, as well as Uber and Nvidia. However, due to his mental health condition rendering him unfit to stand trial, the jury only determined whether he committed the criminal acts, not whether he possessed criminal intent.
The teenage hacker had previously leaked 90 videos showcasing gameplay from the unreleased GTA VI game while on bail in September. Despite being under police watch in a hotel, Kurtaj managed to hack Rockstar Games using an Amazon Fire Stick and other newly purchased tech devices.
Notably, another 17-year-old hacker associated with the group known as Lapsus$ received a less severe sentence—a mere 18-month community service sentence and a ban on using virtual private networks (VPNs) for involvement in the same series of cyberattacks. This discrepancy in sentencing highlights the complex legal considerations surrounding the intersection of cybersecurity, mental health, and criminal intent in the rapidly evolving landscape of digital crimes.