Iranian charged in Game Of Thrones hack, extortion scheme

Jay Jacobs
November 24, 2017

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Acting US attorney Joon Kim said that Mesri is "an experienced and sophisticated hacker who has been wreaking havoc on computer systems around the world for some time", alleging that he is linked to the government of Iran.

"He now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder".

While Game of Thrones was still airing, the hacker threatened to released unaired episodes of the fantasy series - as well as financial info - should they not pay him.

Beginning in May, Mesri searched for ways to get into Home Box Office's network, using points where employees and other authorised users accessed the system from outside, according to prosecutors.

But Mesri is now in Iran, and United States officials have accepted that it would be hard to detain him.

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Although the document doesn't state that the Iranian Regime told Mesri to attack HBO, it should be made clear that he is deeply tied to the Regime and would be unlikely to attack such a prominent target without their permission. The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO".

But there is nothing in the indictment suggesting Mesri targeted HBO on behalf of Iran's government or with its financial support, said Collin Anderson, a US -based internet researcher who specializes in Iran. To promote the disclosures, Mr. Mesri allegedly contacted members of the media and created a Twitter account to announce the leaks.

Mr Kim declined to say if HBO had offered or paid any ransom. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

During the cyber siege this summer, HBO worked with investigators and law-enforcement agencies and alerted "Game of Thrones" cast members, some of whom had their personal information exposed.

The hack and its fallout has been a headache as HBO's parent company, Time Warner, tries to complete its sale to AT&T Inc.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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