U.S. formally sanctions hacker who leaked Game of Thrones information last year.
I had reported on the indictment last week, but the focus of this piece by Harris puzzled me:
The hacker’s name is Behzad Mesri. He was indicted in November of 2017 after he tried to extort $6 million in bitcoin from HBO, operating under the name “little.finger66,” because of course that’s the name he chose. Now, the Justice Department has officially sanctioned him. Mesri claimed to have scripts of episodes from Game of Thrones season 7, as well as a months worth of emails from HBO vice president of programming Leslie Cohen. So far as we can tell, he never actually got a hold of advance episodes, although those leaked on their own. He did leak the phone numbers of home addresses of several cast members, though, so sanctions and more are definitely warranted.
According to prosecutors, Mesri and the other hackers were working at the behest of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and were affiliated with the Mabna Institute, a company that has hacked on behalf of the Iranian government since 2013. They were part of a hacking scheme that saw several universities, private companies, and government agencies have “sensitive information” stolen.
Read more on WinterIsComing.net.
Somehow I don’t think that “Mr. Smith,” as he called himself in emails to me and other journalists, is likely to give a damn that he’s been sanctioned by our DOJ. And what’s the point of sanctioning someone you’ve already indicted, anyway?
If “Mr. Smith” sees this post of mine, and would care to comment or give me a statement about the DOJ’s indictment or sanctioning, I’d love to see it. And if he does have episodes or more data that he never leaked and would like to tell me about it or show me some proof, I’d love to see that, too.