Jury Finds Two Teenagers Were Behind Lapsus$ Crime Spree

Computer code on a screen with a skull representing a computer virus / malware attack.

Court finds two UK teenagers were part of international cyber-crime gang Lapsus$ that hacked multiple big name tech firms

Two UK teenagers who are said to be ‘autistic’, have been found to be part of the notorious international cyber-crime gang Lapsus$.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London found Arion Kurtaj, aged 18, and a 17-year-old male who cannot be identified for legal reasons (age related) were found to part of Lapsus$, that was responsible for a hacking spree against major tech firms.

Kurtaj is currently being held in jail, while the unnamed teenager was released on bail. Both await sentencing after a seven week trial in London.

Young man in handcuffs - copyright Fotolia

Lapsus$ crime spree

Due to Kurtaj being autistic and psychiatrists ruled he was not fit to stand trial, the jury were not asked to provide a guilty or not guilty finding.

Rather the jury was asked if they found Kurtaj and the unnamed male to be responsible for the hacks, which the jury then did.

Security researchers have long identified Brazilian-based Lapsus$ extortion group as carrying out a cybercrime spree in recent years.

In September 2022 Uber said the hacker who breached its systems was affiliated with Lapsus$.

Lapsus$ is known for stealing data from companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Nvidia, Samsung Vodafone, and Okta with the aim of extorting payments from them.

Arion Kurtaj also leaked clips of the unreleased Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 6 game while he was on bail in a Travelodge hotel, according to the BBC.

UK arrests

His cybercrime spree came to an end in late March 2022, when UK police announced they had arrested two members of the Lapsus$ hacking gang.

The teenagers were then aged 16 and 17.

Both were then charged with three counts of unauthorised access to a computer with intent to impair the reliability of data and one count of fraud by false representation and one count of unauthorised access to a computer with intent to hinder access to data.

Shortly before his arrest, Kurtaj was “doxxed” by rival hackers who posted his and his families contact details online along with pictures and videos of the keen fisherman from social media, the BBC reported.

Kurtaj was moved into a Travelodge hotel in Bicester for his safety and given strict bail conditions including a ban from going on the internet.

But Kurtaj carried on hacking and was caught red handed by the police.

Meanwhile other members of the Lapsus$ gang are still at large.

That said, the BBC reported that in October, Brazilian police had arrested an individual alleged to have hacked various Brazilian and Portuguese companies and public bodies with Lapsus$.