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Teen arrested over Rockstar intrusion had prior hacking charges

A 17-year-old suspected of carrying out a cyber attack against Rockstar Games and Uber Technologies is pictured in an undated social media image
A 17-year-old suspected of carrying out a cyber attack against Rockstar Games and Uber Technologies is pictured in an undated social media image. (Graphic by The Desk)

A British teenager who was arrested over criminal hacking allegations on Thursday had been charged with criminal computer-related activity earlier this year, The Desk has learned.

The 17-year-old, whom The Desk is only identifying by his initials “A.K.” because of his age, was detained at his home in Oxfordshire late Thursday evening. He is being held in custody on suspicion of a massive cyber intrusion against video game developers Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive that saw material related to a forthcoming “Grand Theft Auto” game leaked on the Internet.

A.K. is also believed to be the mastermind behind an attack that targeted Uber Technologies, in which he allegedly obtained a contractor’s username and password to gain access to some services that the ride-sharing company used, a police source with knowledge of the matter said.

The arrest came following an investigation by federal law enforcement officials in the United States, who worked with their counterparts in the United Kingdom to identify A.K. as a suspect in both attacks, the source said.

Police zeroed in on A.K. as a suspect after finding similarities between the Rockstar and Uber attacks and several other cyber intrusions that occurred between last year and early this year, including the compromise of data from tech companies Microsoft, Okta and Nvidia. A.K. was charged earlier this year with both attacks and had been living in his mother’s house while the case was pending in court, according to information obtained by The Desk.

Prosecutors have now charged A.K. with two counts of violating his bail and two counts of violating Britain’s computer misuse law. He was arraigned in court on Saturday and is expected to remain in custody.

A law enforcement source said at least two other people are believed to be involved in the attack against Rockstar and Uber, and additional arrests are expected.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).