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America includes bitcoin hacker in Iranian sanctions

The justice department of the United States has included Game of Thrones (GOT) bitcoin hacker, Behzad Mesri, on its sanctions list. The sanctions involved an Iranian firm and nine nationals from the country for their involvement in global hacking schemes against private companies, energy concerns, universities and government outlets.

Half-A-Dozen Hackers

The United States has named more than half-a-dozen hackers who were allegedly involved in perpetrating the Home Box Office (HBO) compromise formula. That also led to a bitcoin ransom. The HBO drama, Game of Thrones, which was more popular, was scooped up in 1.5 terabytes of stolen data. The hackers threatened with pre-season leaks and demanded millions of dollars through the digital currency. During the last summer, HBO disclosed that it was hacked by miscreants.

In one of the biggest media hack of this kind, terabytes of data were stolen. That included Emmy-award winning fantasy drama, Game of Thrones. The Creator held it close to the unaired episodes. This reminded about the biggest media hack of the notorious Sony data compromise in 2014 as the latest is said to be seven times of that hacking, news.bitcoin.com reported. Once the partial leaks were allowed to make their way around, ransom demands increased to six million dollars, which should be by way of bitcoin. If the demand was not meant, there was a threat of the complete GOT season being allowed to go online.

The American authorities indicted Behzad Mesri in November last year for the GOT hacking. He was directly linked to the hacks of HBO as his relations with the Iranian government were termed as loose. There were rumors that he was part of the Revolutionary Guard as he was accused of engaging himself in the Iranian military’s Turk Black Hat Security division. Incidentally, the division was given particular importance on the cyber attack with a focus on Israel.

Despite these engagements, reports suggested that Mesri would unlikely to visit the United States in the near future. Therefore, the latest action of the Justice Department was termed as a campaign of name and shame. A poster of “Wanted” for Mesri was given and the lead agent disclosed in GOT as to how winter has come for the Iranian national.

Unaired HBO Shows

The American alleged that Mesri was preventing from stealing episodes of a number of unaired shows in the HBO. This included GOT scripts. As a result, he started teasing the firm with clunky messages like “Beware of heart attacks, “HBO is hacked..” and “Hi to all losers!”. The messages came as Skote Vahshat.

As the frustration level increased, his demand for ransom also grew. Initially, he demanded 5.5 million dollars of bitcoin as ransom. This was increased to over six million. HBO reacted to clarify that hackers were trying to release bits and pieces of stolen information aiming to turn the media attention. The company disclosed that it was not ready to play a game with the hacker. The current threat is that if Mesri owns any asset in the United States, it would be either frozen or confiscated.

About the author

Leon Gaban

Leon is a FullStack Developer, Cryptocurrency Investor, Global Citizen who wandered into Blockstream, and is currently trying to produce a prototype and spec for bitcoin lightning. To know more about Leon, follow him on Twitter.

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