A teenager from Oxford has been accused of being the head of Lapsus$, a cybercrime organisation that has taken some huge scalps in recent months – not least Microsoft and Samsung.
The 16 year old, who has autism, is one of seven teenagers arrested by City of London Police in connection with the Lapsus$ organisation – though it’s not been officially confirmed that he is the organisation head. However, several researchers and rival hackers have named him as the leader.
Lapsus$ is thought to operate primarily out of South America, with some of its biggest hacks being tracked back to devices in Brazil. Though a relatively new group (having only come to mainstream attention in December 2021), it has made a name for itself with successful attacks on some of the world’s biggest organisations – focusing initially on targets in the UK and South Africa.
These hacks were so sophisticated, in fact, that researchers originally thought they were automated and not the work of a human hacker.
As savvy as the group’s methods have sometimes been, the members are often quite brazen – with members explicitly trying to recruit insiders at big tech companies and even crashing internal video conferences to boast about their hacks and taunt the victims.
The Oxford teenager was arrested after being ‘doxxed’ by former partners and rivals over an alleged falling out. They shared his name, contact details and social media profiles, as well as the claim that he’d made more than £10 million from his exploits. For their part, the City of London Police claimed that already had the individual’s name by tracing previous posts and seizing on mistakes made when he tried to cover his tracks.
Following the arrest, Detective Inspector Michael O’Sullivan from the City of London Police told Tech Crunch: “The City of London Police has been conducting an investigation with its partners into members of a hacking group.
“Seven people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been arrested in connection with this investigation and have all been released under investigation. Our enquiries remain ongoing.”