LONDON (AP) — A British jury ruled Wednesday that two teenagers were part of a hacking and blackmail campaign against technology companies including the maker of the “Grand Theft Auto” game series.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court in London said 18-year-old Arion Kurtaj committed 12 offenses including computer hacking, blackmail and fraud. A 17-year-old defendant who can’t be identified because of his age was convicted of fraud, blackmail and carrying out an unauthorized act to impair the operation of a computer.
The 2-month trial was unusual: Psychiatrists assessed Kurtaj as unfit to stand trial, so the jury was asked to decide whether he had committed the alleged acts but not to deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
Prosecutors said the two teenagers were key players in a group known as Lapsus$ that in 2021 and 2022 hacked the computer systems of companies including communications provider BT, cellphone company EE, software company Nvidia and games-maker Rockstar Games, then threatened to release sensitive information unless they were paid millions in ransoms.