A 17-year-old boy from Oxfordshire, England, has been arrested in connection with recent high-profile hacking attacks on Uber and Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar.
According to reports from Matthew Keys’ The Desk, the unnamed teenager is being held on charges of conspiring to attack at least two computer systems.
A brief statement from the City of London Police Department confirmed the arrest of a 17-year-old in Oxfordshire on suspicion of hacking on the night of September 22.
The teenager was arrested at his mother’s house, where he lives.
He was arrested in the United States by the UK’s National Cyber Crime Unit in conjunction with colleagues from the FBI
He was not named due to his age, although The Desk shared a pixelated photo of the boy fishing. Police in London said he remains in custody while the investigation continues.
He appeared in a UK juvenile court today to answer two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse. Juvenile courts in England are not open to the public.
The BBC’s Joe Tidy wrote in a retweet of the City of London Police statement: “This is very significant. But we can’t say why due to reporting limitations…”
On September 18, the hacker released the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto VI, the next installment in the best-selling video game, in one of the biggest leaks in gaming history.
The hack saw the release of 90 gameplay videos and revealed the identities of the game’s protagonists, including for the first time a playable female character named Lucia.
The hacker was identified by The Desk using the initials AK and the online name Teapottuberhacker.
The alleged hacker was not named due to his age
The original post by the suspected hacker known as Teapottuberhacker announcing the leak
Grand Theft Auto is one of the best-selling brands in gaming; The upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI has been in development since 2014
At the time of the GTA leak, the hacker also claimed to be behind the cyber attack on Uber
The Desk further reported that AK is linked to the Laspu$$ hacking group, which has been linked to the Samsung, Microsoft and Cisco hacks.
The group typically steals source code from tech companies and then holds it for ransom while threatening to release it publicly, leaving companies vulnerable to further infiltration.
After these incidents, AK reportedly lived with his mother in Oxfordshire while these cases were pending.
His actions were also investigated by the FBI.
A hacker has leaked the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto VI, the next installment in the best-selling video game, in one of the biggest leaks in gaming history
At the time of the GTA leak, the hacker also claimed to be behind the cyber incident at Uber.
He later posted a message on the forums about trying to negotiate a deal with Take-Two Interactive Software, the owner of Rockstar that publishes the GTA games.
Multiple reports state that the hacker gained access through the company’s Slack communication channels.
The hacker gained access by lying to Uber and Rockstar employees and posing as IT staff, reports the New York Times.
The unprecedented leak includes over an hour of footage showing robberies, shootouts and open-world driving, and was posted to the GTAForums message board last weekend.
It also features some fully voiced conversations between characters, including a female protagonist, in a fictional modern day Miami known as Vice City.
In a statement released on its social channels, Rockstar said it was “extremely disappointed” to have shared details about the game in this way, but claimed the leak would not delay the project.
“We recently suffered a network breach where an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development material for the next Grand Theft Auto,” Rockstar said in a statement.
‘At this point in time, we do not expect any disruption to our live game services, nor any long-term impact on the development of our ongoing projects.
In a statement released on its social channels, Rockstar said it was “extremely disappointed” to have shared details about the game in this way, but claimed the leak would not delay the project
“We are very disappointed that you have been shared with all the details of our next game in this way.
“Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game continues as planned, and we remain committed as ever to providing you, our players, with an experience that truly exceeds your expectations.
“We’ll be bringing everyone back up to speed soon, and of course, we’ll be giving you a proper introduction to this next game when it’s ready. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this situation.’
Several videos were removed from YouTube and Twitter at Take-Two’s request, confirming the legitimacy of the significant leak first reported by Bloomberg News on Sunday.
Take-Two has also reportedly ordered two of Grand Theft Auto’s largest online communities to remove all links to the GTA VI footage.
“Do not share media or links to leaked copyrighted material. Discussions are allowed,’ read a banner on the GTAForums homepage.
The hacker, who goes by the name Teapottuberhacker, claimed the videos were downloaded from a Slack channel believed to be owned by a Rockstar employee
“It’s a PR disaster that could potentially set production back and hurt morale,” financial services firm Jefferies wrote in a note to customers, warning that the potential leak of the game’s source code could pose a greater threat.
“If the source code leaks, significant changes under the hood of the game could be required to ensure its stability and the server integrity of GTA VI Online after launch.”
Gamers and investors have been waiting for years for the release of GTA VI, the development of which was confirmed in February and caused Take Two shares to rise by more than 7 percent.
In July, it was announced that the game would be set in a fictionalized version of Miami and feature a playable female protagonist for the first time.
The woman, dubbed “Latina,” will reportedly be one of two main characters in a story influenced by bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde.
The release could provide a much-needed boost for the US gaming company, which is forecasting weak annual sales for August.
The gaming industry, considered “recession-proof” by some analysts, is beginning to see some weakness as inflation-stricken consumers rein in their entertainment spending.
Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software fell nearly 6 percent in premarket trading Monday after the report.
However, Jefferies analysts were optimistic about the game’s success.
“Based on what we’re seeing, the game is more advanced than many believe and (the leak) will not impact reception/sales of the game,” the analysts said.
GTA VI is estimated to generate $3.5 billion in bookings at launch and will average $2 billion annually thereafter, according to Bank of America Global Research.
Many developers shared public support for Rockstar following the leak, including Xbox Corporate Vice President Sarah Bond.
“My thoughts are with the team at Rockstar Games,” Bond wrote.
“It can be disheartening when a project you’ve worked hard to get fans excited is revealed and criticized before it’s done.
“I know they are creating something special and can’t wait to experience GTA6 when it’s officially revealed.”
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