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UK Teenagers Accused of Hacking Nvidia, Uber, Rockstar Games | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

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In a surprising development, two UK teenagers have been identified as key operatives of the infamous hacking collective, Lapsus$. The group, notorious for targeting tech heavyweights such as Nvidia Corp., Rockstar Games Inc., and Uber Technologies Inc., is once again in the spotlight. 

The accused, Arion Kurtaj, 18, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, are facing serious charges related to computer misuse, blackmail, and fraud – Bloomberg reported. 

These charges specifically pertain to attacks on BT Group Plc and Nvidia, with Kurtaj additionally being singled out for cyberattacks on Uber, Rockstar Games, and fintech firm Revolut Ltd. 

Prosecutors argue that the pair, along with unidentified members of Lapsus$, was involved in the theft of sensitive code and upcoming video footage from the latest Grand Theft Auto installment by Rockstar Games. The case further alleges that Kurtaj impersonated a contractor, leaking the hacked information on forums and demanding a ransom.

Interestingly, Kurtaj was found medically unfit for the trial, thereby the jury will only determine his liability for the alleged crimes, instead of delivering a verdict of guilt. Consequently, even if found liable, Kurtaj will evade imprisonment. The trial is scheduled to span eight weeks.

It’s noteworthy that the 17-year-old pleaded guilty to charges related to the BT hacks but maintained innocence on the remaining charges.

A massive cyber heist unfolded in February 2022 when Nvidia became the target. The accused reportedly took control of two contractors’ accounts, gaining access to sensitive company data. This includes vital software building blocks integral to Nvidia’s products. 

According to prosecutors, the hackers pilfered roughly one terabyte of data, releasing a portion of it publicly while demanding ransom for the remainder.

Moreover, the duo supposedly hacked into the servers of BT’s EE network between July and November 2021, threatening to release source code if their ransom demands were unmet. They are also implicated in SIM swap frauds that drained multiple customers’ cryptocurrency and bank accounts.

Prosecutors are arguing that these were not merely “juvenile pranks online” but rather serious criminal endeavors aimed at illicit financial gains. They highlighted that the group attempted to blackmail the targeted firms, threatening to release confidential material unless their ransom demands were met.

Investigations linked the hacks back to the teenagers through IP addresses associated with various email addresses, mobile devices, and Telegram messaging platform accounts. 

Adding to the evidence, the teens were known to frequently boast about their hacking exploits online. Kevin Barry, the prosecution’s lawyer, described Kurtaj as “highly competent and a genius,” but noted that his youthful arrogance led him to brag about his deeds, which ultimately served to implicate him.

Stay tuned for updates on this cybercrime saga, as we follow the proceedings of this significant trial.


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