An Iranian company, together with nine Iranian nationals was officially sanctioned by the US Department of Justice with regards to cybercriminal activities against private companies, energy concerns, universities and government outlets.
The accused offender of the Home Box Office (HBO) issue and proceeding bitcoin Ransom where in the midst of half the dozen Hackers named. Unless demand for millions of dollars in cryptocurrency were met, the very famous HBO drama referred to as Game of Thrones was threaten with pre-season leaks with a stolen data of 1.5 terabytes.
DOJ Iranian named and shamed Game of Thrones Bitcoin Hacker
HBO had declared it had been hacked, by the summer of last year. Among the Terabytes data taken consist of tight-grip unaired Emmy-award winning fantasy drama episodes of Game of Thrones (GOT). It is seven times more serious than the cyber attack on Sony during 2014 and comfortably sits on the throne of the greatest media hack of all time so far. This followed by some leaks slipping to the public eye, instigating six million dollars value in bitcoin demand from HBO or instead be the victim of a complete season being transferred via online.
The US authorities for the GOT situation had indicted an Iranian national Behzad Mesri in November 2017. HBO hacks have been connected directly to Mr. Mesri, although his links to the Government of Iran stay slack with rumors suggesting that “he might have been part of the Revolutionary Guard”. Mr. Mesri has been alleged by the indictment for being part of the Turk Black Hat Security division of the Iranian military, which includes an exception stress on Israel cyber hacking.
According to reports, there was a slim chance of him turning over to the US and as a result, the Department of Justice (DOJ) got involved in a “name and shame campaign”. In addition, the lead agent in GOT would announce how “Winter has come for Behzad Mesri, He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges. The memory of American Law enforcement is very long”, coupled with ‘Wanted” poster bearing his information.
Including coveted GOT scripts, the US accused him of stealing episodes of numerous unaired HBO shows. With an anonymous name of Skote Vahshat, he started mocking the firm with remarks such as “Hi to all losers! Yes, it’s true! HBO is hacked….Beware of heart attacks”. Reported his demand included raising a bitcoin ransom of more than six million and just to prove a point he started releasing parts of GOT to other media companies.
Wider US Policy to IRAN
According to HBO, “It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO. The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in”. Although view widely as a symbolic action rather than a government-instigated action, the latest declared sanction holds serious consequences with Mr. Mesri still being free from US Justice regulators.
As reported by NewsBitcoin.com “Should he decide to travel he risks arrest and immediate extradition to the United States. If he owns anything in the US, all assets will be frozen or confiscated”
More than in the previous years, the current American Government is decidedly more Hawkish with Mr. Mesri caught up in the wider US policy towards Iran. Since 2013, the series of cyber-attacks from Iran has to increase intensely by culprits such as other state agencies and university professors.