United States authorities identify alleged Game of Thrones hacker
23 November, 2017, 00:25 | Author: Samuel Sharp
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the USA print edition of The Wall Street Journal (November 22, 2017).
The hacker has now been identitfied as IranianBehzad Mesri, and according to Variety, he is being charged with "seven criminal counts, including computer hacking and fraud; wired fraud; interstate transmission of an extortionate communication; and aggravated identity theft".
The copy of the complaint uploaded by The Daily Beast mentions Mesri as an expert in computer hacking techniques, who had allegedly worked on behalf of Iranian military to break into the computer systems of the world.
A lawyer for Mr. Mesri couldn't immediately be identified.
Acting US attorney Joon Kim shared the news at a Manhattan press conference, stating authorities believe Mesri is in Iran, though they did not comment on his exact whereabouts.
"He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear that he will be arrested on these charges".
MESR attempts to penetrate the network HBO began around may and continued until about August 2017.
The hacker, Behzad Mesri, also known as "Skote Vahshat", was involved "in a scheme to obtain unauthorized access to the computer systems of Home Box Office, Inc". US prosecutors say he stole scripts and plot summaries for then unaired episodes of the global smash hit Game of Thrones series, and unaired episodes for multiple other shows, including the Curb Your Enthusiasm comedy series. But at least HBO can have some amount of closure. "HBO is hacked!" an email allegedly originating from Mesri read. He has been charged with hacking HBO and for blackmail.
"Our demand is clear and Non-Negotiable: We want XXXX dollars to stop leaking your Data". Included was an image of "Game of Thrones" Night King character, leader of an army of zombies, with the words, "Good luck HBO".
Mesri allegedly told HBO he took 1.5 terabytes of data, which he threatened to release publicly if the network failed to pay a "nonnegotiable" ransom of US$5.5 million in bitcoin.
It is unclear if HBO paid any part of the ransom to the hacker.
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