A 16-year-old from Oxford has been accused of being one of the leaders of cyber-crime gang Lapsus$.
The teenager, who is alleged to have amassed a $14m (£10.6m) fortune from hacking, has been named by rival hackers and researchers.
City of London Police say they have arrested seven teenagers in relation to the gang but will not say if he is one. The boy’s father told the BBC his family was concerned and was trying to keep him away from his computers.
Under his online moniker “White” or “Breachbase” the teenager, who has autism, is said to be behind the prolific Lapsus$ hacker crew, which is believed to be based in South America.
Lapsus$ is relatively new but has become one of the most talked about and feared hacker cyber-crime gangs, after successfully breaching major firms like Microsoft and then bragging about it online. The teenager, who can’t be named for legal reasons, attends a special educational school in Oxford.
City of London Police said: “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.”
The boy’s father told the BBC: “I had never heard about any of this until recently. He’s never talked about any hacking, but he is very good on computers and spends a lot of time on the computer. I always thought he was playing games.”
“We’re going to try to stop him from going on computers.”
“White” was outed – or “doxxed” – on a hacker website, after an apparent falling out with business partners. The hackers revealed his name, address, and social media pictures.
They also posted a biography of his hacking career, saying: “After a few years his net worth accumulated to well over 300BTC [close to $14m]… [he is] now is affiliated with a wannabe ransomware group known as ‘Lapsus$’, who has been extorting & ‘hacking’ several organisations.”
The Lapsus$ cyber-extortion group has gained notoriety in a short space of time thanks to its high-profile targets and active presence on the messaging app Telegram. Its channel has grown to 47,000 subscribers.
The last message was posted on the channel on Wednesday, with the group saying: “A few of our members has a vacation until 30/3/2022. We might be quiet for some times. Thanks for understand us – we will try to leak stuff ASAP.”