United States launches prosecution of GoT hack suspect

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An indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan accuses Behzad Mesri of hacking into the cable network's computer system in NY.

Mr. Kim said the government decided this was the right time to publicize charges against Mr. Mesri, after assessing whether there was a realistic chance of luring him outside of Iran to make an arrest.

The man, Behzad Mesri, is charged with orchestrating the high-profile hack of the U.S. 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.

If convicted, Mesri faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, plus up to five years each for four charges related to computer fraud, among other sentences.

This Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced that they have opened the case against Behzad Mesri, whose aliases include Skote Vahshat and Mr. Smith. Mesri is accused of leaking internal HBO emails, documents, financial information, GoT scripts, and episodes of "Ballers", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and more.

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The second e-mail included an image of the "Night King", a Game of Thrones character, with the message "Good luck to HBO". "HBO is hacked! Beware of Heart Attacks!".

A spokesman with the US Attorney's Office said that Mesri had not been arrested, but declined to comment on the suspect's whereabouts.

He first demanded $5.5 million worth of Bitcoin (an untraceable cryptocurrency) in order to not release HBO's shows for torrenting, but when HBO refused he upped it to $6 million and threatened to destroy their data servers.

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. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

Kim also discussed that there may be more charges against Iranian Regime hackers in the near future.

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