Lapsus$ masterminds behind Microsoft breach revealed to be teenagers

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What you need to know

  • The Lapsus$ group has been causing trouble for huge companies such as NVIDIA, Samsung, and Microsoft.
  • Based on new arrests in the UK, it turns out the cybercriminal gang may be an operation ran, at least in part, by teenagers.
  • One of the boys in the group, who has allegedly amassed approximately $14 million, is now having computer access restricted by his dad.

What were you doing when you were 16 years old? Because, if a new report is to be believed, that's the age of one of the teenager masterminds behind Lapsus$, the cybercriminal group that's stolen from giants such as Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Samsung.

It's hard to name another group that has caused as much of a public stir as Lapsus$ in 2022, and as exposed by a BBC report, all that ruckus may boil down to a couple of young people, including teenagers.

According to the City of London Police, "seven people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been arrested in connection with an investigation into a hacking group. They have all been released under investigation. Our inquiries remain ongoing."

Though the police haven't confirmed if the aforementioned sixteen-year-old boy is among those seven, his name has been publicly outed (though will not be disclosed here since he's a minor), as has his connection with Lapsus$. Based on a report by Bloomberg, the boy's been being tracked by cybersecurity experts for almost a year. But his identity only hit the web as a result of business associates outing him.

The boy, who attends a special education school in Oxford, is said to have accrued $14 million from his activities. His dad told the BBC the following: "I always thought he was playing games." The dad also stated he will try to limit the boy's access to computers going forward.

Perhaps this is a cautionary tale for parents who think their kids are enjoying the best Xbox Game Pass games: Your kid may be earning millions while forcing Microsoft to publicly explain itself after 90% of Bing's source code hits the web.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

13 Comments
  • $14 million later and now the dad is going to "try to limit" access to computers?!? Good luck with that.
  • Haha, for sure. Could buy a lot of pad thai with $14 mil.
  • Good. Criminals go to jail. Whatever laws protect teenagers in the relevant countries, yeah, go for the hardest punishment. Hacking is not a game, it affects millions of people and literally changes the technology landscape. In today's world it's as serious as a crime can get because it affects potentially everyone with a computer. Remember when everyone's computers got slower because they had to patch everyone's processors and OS to prevent attacks? Good lord.
  • Alternatively, instead of throwing the book at the kid... ... offer him legitimate employment opportunities so that he uses his skills for socially acceptable/"constructive" purposes and is allowed a healthy, normal future.
  • My aunt would always say to me "imagine if people this intelligent were on the good side." It's a shame that kids so young are potentially ruining their lives when they could have a had a promising and fulfilling career.
  • Yeah, I've heard that before. I don't agree. Criminals are first and foremost responsible for their acts. We all have a background, and not everybody is a criminal. IMHO the reward for a crime like this should not be the offer of a better future or a job. What's left for those people in need of a job or education that refrain from doing criminal activities. No, definitely not. Moreover, that whole hacker dynamic where they do something illegal to get a job for doing it well is super shady, and it's been enticing knowledgeable people to do bad things. It's not the way. But people who create trojans, viruses and malware? I don't have forgiveness for them. The law will have the last word but justice is something else.
  • What other sorts of criminals do you believe should be rewarded with employment and a 'healthy, normal future'?
  • Jaywalkers. Car horn honkers. Kids who skip school for 10 days in Texas (real thing). Those are my answers, ya narc.
  • That kakamimi statement of yours "Alternatively, instead of throwing the book at the kid..." is exactly what is wrong.
    You are by extension stating that this skill could not have been used to help others, get a job or create positive apps / programs? (that he is not capable of doing anything good with that programming skills) Wait, Let's just offer a job to all criminal MASTER minds.
    Believe it or not, what he did is destructive folks lives in this digital age, making money at the expense of others' misery that he created, stealing and destruction of properties.
  • @asoyemi Guess you haven't heard of Frank Abagnale?...
  • @Robert Carnevale Totally agree with you on this one. Most People completely forget that the purpose of a criminal justice system is supposed to reform people from offending and commiting crimes. But, sadly that is not the reality. In terms of meaningful employment, I wonder what would have happened to banking security if Frank Abagnale wasn't give a second chance.
  • Yeah, the "reform" bit gets lost on these goobers. I appreciate you grokking that part. Not to mention, the kid's probably got more untapped talent in his left foot than most of us, so it seems petty and resentful for people to hate on him just because he made $14 mil stirring the pot in a way they couldn't.
  • Great way to drive home your point by insulting those that think otherwise. I'll agree with the opposition. Willingly making a choice to commit a crime and defraud others is not simply someone "making $14 mil stirring the pot." Part of reformation is paying for the crime you've committed. It certainly shouldn't involve being awarded for being clever. IMHO