'Winter has come' for Iranian charged with HBO hack

Game Of Thrones 'HBO' Hacker Has Been Finally Identified And Charged

Former Iranian military hacker behind Game of Thrones leaks – Report

An Iran-based hacker plotted to extort HBO out of $6 million by threatening to release stolen episodes and scripts of hit shows, such as "Game of Thrones", at one point taunting the network with a twist on a catch phrase form that series: "Winter is coming".

The copy of the complaint uploaded by The Daily Beast mentions Mesri as an expert in computer hacking techniques, who had allegedly worked on behalf of Iranian military to break into the computer systems of the world.

"Today's charges make clear that nation-states like Iran routinely employ alleged criminals [and] mercenaries like Mesri to conduct network attacks in America and elsewhere", Mr. Kim said.

The man, Behzad Mesri, is charged with orchestrating the high-profile hack of the USA cable channel earlier this year, which led to a standoff over a demanded ransom payment and the leak of unaired episodes of some of HBO's biggest shows, including Game of Thrones and Ballers.

Acting US attorney Joon Kim told a news conference in Manhattan on Tuesday that HBO had "become a victim of a malicious cyberattack" and, although Mr Mesri was in Iran and could not be arrested, he would face consequences.

Earlier this year, HBO faced a setback in the form of a massive hacking attack on its internal servers that resulted in the theft of 1.5 terabyte data.

Another email later that day included a threat to publicly release the stolen data, including unaired TV episodes and scripts, unless HBO paid a ransom of approximately $5.5 million worth of bitcoin.

When contacted by WorldPost, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson declined to comment.

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.

There is also the potential for damaging correspondence to become public.

HBO is a growth engine for Time Warner, generating $4.65 billion in revenue in the first nine months of the year, about 21% of the company's total revenue.

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