Game of Thrones Season 7 Cyber Hacker Has Been Identified And Charged By The FBI

Posted 2017/11/22 2081 0

The FBI filed an indictment, charging Iranian hacker Behzad Mesri for the HBO hack.


A federal indictment filed in a New York district court on Tuesday (November 21) identified Iranian national Behzad Mesr of orchestrating the hack in order to extort HBO out of $6 million in Bitcoin. Mesri is believed to still be in Iran but the charges should send a message to everyone who attacks U.S. targets, said officials.

"He will forever be looking over his shoulder and if he isn’t, he should be," said U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in a press conference Tuesday in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in New York City.

Mesri once worked for the Iranian government as a hacker, where he attacked nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure, according to the grand jury indictment released Tuesday. Between about May and July of 2017, Mesri compromised multiple user accounts belonging to HBO employees and other authorized users to gain access to the cable network’s proprietary information, according to a grand jury indictment released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York. The hacker, who called himself “Mr. Smith” in some communiques, reportedly made off with a trove of 1.5 terabytes of data and demanded millions in ransom payments from HBO in Bitcoin.

The hacker released of a “Game of Thrones” script and episodes of HBO shows including “Ballers” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and gloated about the hack on Twitter and in emails to HBO execs and the media. 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.

Kim also said that Mesri, who is not currently in U.S. custody, has a history of hacking on behalf of the Iranian military. The U.S. Attorney’s office released a photo of the alleged hacker, who is now on the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Most Wanted list: