'Game Of Thrones' Hack Investigation Sees US Prosecutors Charge Iranian Man

Jon Howard
November 23, 2017

Mezri's pseudonym is "SkoteVashat" and he was allegedly part of an Iranian hacker group which goes by the name of Turk Black Hat.

No substantive proof of the link between Iranian officials and Mesri, who has now been added to the FBI's most wanted list, has been offered in the statement.

The haul was said to include confidential details of the then-unreleased fourth episode of the latest Game of Thrones season, plus episodes of Ballers, Barry, Insecure, and Room 104.

In a press conference, acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim did his best Arya Stark impression when he proclaimed that "winter has come for Behzad Mesri".

The U.S. has neither formal diplomatic relations nor an extradition treaty with Iran, meaning the U.S. can't request Mesri's extradition.

The Iranian suspect faces seven counts in the United States, including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and four counts of computer fraud.

He is accused of compromising multiple user accounts, and in July of sending an anonymous email to HBO personnel saying: "Hi to All losers! HBO is hacked!. Beware of heart Attack!"

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A spokesman for HBO said Tuesday that the company has been "working with law enforcement from the early stages of the cyber incident".

"Today's charges make clear that nation-states, like Iran, routinely employ alleged criminals, mercenaries, like Mesri, to conduct network attacks in America and elsewhere", Kim said.

In a statement last evening, Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the unsealing of an indictment charging a 29-year-old man with offenses carried out against HBO.

The second e-mail included an image of the "Night King", a Game of Thrones character, with the message "Good luck to HBO". He then increased the ransom to $6 million.

Behzad Mesri is accused of stealing data related to unaired episodes of HBO series including Game of Thrones and attempting to extort US$6m from the premium USA cablenet.

"("HBO"), steal proprietary data from those systems, and obtain $6 million worth of Bitcoin from HBO through extortion by threatening to disseminate stolen content".

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