On Sept. 20, 2022, a YouTube video thumbnail purported to show the face of a "16-year-old hacker" who caused the network intrusion that led to the leak of content from the next Grand Theft Auto video game, which has been unofficially referred to as "GTA VI." However, this picture was misleading.
The video's title read, "GTA 6 LEAK by 16-Year Old HACKER.. ? (GTA 6 Gameplay Leaks)."
In reality, the photograph in the YouTube thumbnail was captured in Indiana in 2017. It showed a 9-year-old boy with autism who was taken into custody following a fight at school. An article published by WRTV provided more details about the incident.
We previously reported on the "GTA VI" leak, which was confirmed by the company that develops the Grand Theft Auto series. In a statement, Rockstar Games said that "an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information.” The result of the mid-September leak led to videos of "early development footage" being posted on YouTube and other websites.
Note: The author of this article was employed by Rockstar Games from 2010 through 2013.
“9-Year-Old Boy With Autism Sobs as He’s Arrested for Fighting With Another Student.” Inside Edition, 31 Oct. 2017, https://www.insideedition.com/9-year-old-boy-autism-sobs-hes-arrested-fighting-another-student-37674.
Bajak, Frank. “Serious Breach at Uber Spotlights Hacker Social Deception.” Snopes.com via The Associated Press, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/09/19/serious-breach-at-uber-spotlights-hacker-social-deception/.
Dinsdale, Ryan. “FBI Investigating Alleged Rockstar Hacker.” IGN, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.ign.com/articles/fbi-investigating-alleged-rockstar-hacker.
Hunter, Graham. “9-Year-Old Arrested, Handcuffed at School.” WRTV, 29 Oct. 2017, https://www.wrtv.com/news/local-news/johnson-county/9-year-old-arrested-and-handcuffed-at-elementary-school.
Phillips, Tom. “FBI Investigate Hacker Allegedly behind Rockstar GTA 6 Leak.” Eurogamer, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.eurogamer.net/fbi-investigating-hacker-who-claimed-to-have-breached-rockstar-and-uber.
Stout, A. “Autistic Boy Was Arrested at School for Attempting to Choke Another Child and a Teacher.” The Autism Site News, 21 Nov. 2017, https://blog.theautismsite.greatergood.com/fighting-bullies/.