U.S. authorities identify alleged Game of Thrones hacker

Posted November 24, 2017

The US Attorney's Office is charging Behzad Mesri with the breach of HBO's systems and attempted extortion of $6 million in Bitcoin.

An indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan accuses Behzad Mesri of hacking into the cable network's computer system in NY.

An Iranian man who hacked into Israel's military is to face charges in the US that he also hacked HBO and snatched Game of Thrones scripts before trying to blackmail the TV production company, threatening to release them online if not. It says he stole episodes from "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Deuce" and other series, along with scripts of "Game of Thrones".

The indictment, unsealed in NY on Tuesday, said that Behzad Mesri, "had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems, and Israeli infrastructure".

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Mesri is charged with hacking into the HBO cable network and stealing a significant amount of sensitive company information, such corporate emails and new episodes of a number of the network's TV series. Included was an image of "Game of Thrones" Night King character, leader of an army of zombies, with the words, "Good luck HBO". "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked!"

A spokesman with the US Attorney's Office said that Mesri had not been arrested, but declined to comment on the suspect's whereabouts.

Mesri, a member of the Turk Black Hat hacking group, is not in custody and the police have issued warrants for his arrest and even created a "Wanted" poster for the public and global agents.

In late July and into August, Mesri leaked some of the HBO material on the Internet through websites under his control, then promoted the leaks through e-mails to the press and on a Twitter account, prosecutors say.

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The indictment against Mesri comes amid talk of plans by US President Donald Trump to scrap a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose economic sanctions. Kim said Mesri also had a history of hacking on behalf of the Iranian military.

But there lies the problem, Mesri is resident in Iran, and though Kim warned of consequences it seems unlikely that USA authorities would be able to arrest him unless he left.

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

"Today, winter has come for Behzad Mesri", Kim said.

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