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Jan 30, 2024

18-Year-Old Hacker Leaks Footage Using a Firestick

"Minsk, Belarus - October 26, 2011: Official website Rockstar Games. Photo taken from the monitor."

You have heard many cases of cyber-attacks on companies worldwide where hackers have come up with various malicious techniques to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

I would like to share details about a recent and unique cyberattack case. An 18-year-old hacker initiated this attack with an unconventional technique to successfully leak footage from a video game using a simple device that is widely used in households - an Amazon Firestick.

Before going into this case, it is important to note what the Firestick is. Many of you have heard of this plug-and-play device for streaming services, which adds an unexpected twist to this cyber-attack. Typically, we associate cyber-attacks with more sophisticated tools and techniques, but this case highlights the potential vulnerabilities that can exist even in seemingly unrelated devices.

Amazon fire stick TV remote in hand

So, What Happened?

While 18-year-old Arion Kurtaj awaited his bail in his hotel room for other cyberattacks he launched, in his spare time, he decided to launch another attack on a popular Rockstar’s video game ‘Grand Theft Auto (GTA)’, using a hotel room TV, a Firestick, and his cellphone.

After the hack, Kurtaj broke into the GTA’s messaging system, Slack, and alerted the video game company, "If Rockstar does not contact me on Telegram within 24 hours, I will start releasing the source code".

Directly after this message, CBS News stated that the 18-year-old boy leaked at least 90 clips of Grand Theft Auto IV as well as the source code. He additionally launched a cyber-attack against Uber and other corporations. It is also stated that these attacks cost the companies at least 10 million.

In the gaming world, GTA is a very popular and anticipated game by gamers around the world, so releasing footage was quite a blow for the company. A day later, the company released the trailer for the game, which will come out in 2025.

What happened to the mastermind after the attack?

The UK judge who presided over the case decided that Kurtaj would be placed in the Youth Rehabilitation Center for at least 18 months or until mental health professionals deem him safe to the public. According to the BBC, doctors believed that Kurtaj, who is severely autistic, was too unfit to stand trial.

Overall, this unconventional cyberattack serves as a reminder of the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats. Organizations should not underestimate the potential vulnerabilities that can arise from seemingly unrelated devices, emphasizing the importance of regularly updating and securing all aspects of their digital infrastructure. As technology continues to advance, so do the creative methods hackers employ. Companies must invest in robust cybersecurity protocols, conduct regular security audits, and educate their personnel on the latest threats and best practices. The fallout from this case, with significant financial losses for the targeted companies, underscores the real and tangible impact cyberattacks can have on businesses, urging them to prioritize cybersecurity as a fundamental aspect of their operations.

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