Iranian Man Accused of 'Game of Thrones' Hack

Joann Johnston
November 21, 2017

Mesri, a member of the Iran-supported Turk Black Hat Security team, conducted "hundreds of website defacements" in the US and across the world, prosecutors said.

The hacker released of a "Game of Thrones" script and episodes of HBO shows including "Ballers" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

Behzad Mesri, also known online as Skote Vahshat, is an Iran-based computer hacker, the U.S. District Court Southern District of NY stated in an indictment.

Mesri, who also went by "Skote Vahshat", is a highly skilled hacker who has worked for the Iranian military, attacking nuclear software, Israeli infrastructure and rival armies. (HBO), stealing data - including episodes of the popular television series "Game of Thrones" - and attempting to extort $6 million worth of the digital currency bitcoin from the company.

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In an indictment, prosecutors allege that Behzad Mesri gained server access to HBO by hijacking employees' accounts.

Mesri is not in federal custody and authorities don't know where he is, a USA attorney spokesperson said.

He then sent a series of anonymous emails to multiple HBO executives, employees, and other representatives providing proof that he had hacked into their systems, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Beware of heart Attack!" one message said. HBO offered a $250,000 payoff to the hacker as a so-called "bug bounty", but that move was in fact was a stall tactic by HBO as it assessed the situation.

In exchange, he requested $6 million in bitcoin, according to the complaint. A week later, he began leaking portions of the cache over the internet and to media outlets. He taunted the network with images, including a photo of the "Night King" from "Game of Thrones", writing, "Good luck to HBO". Officials will hold a press conference to formally announce the charges Tuesday afternoon.

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