ACTSCENE: Man who hacked and leaked 'Game of Thrones' is charged in US court

Saturday November 25 2017

US federal authorities have charged a man

US federal authorities have charged a man alleged to have been involved in stealing unaired HBO shows and scripts for Game of Thrones. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By HILLARY KIMUYU
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Man who hacked and leaked Game of Thrones is charged in US court

US federal authorities have charged a man alleged to have been involved in stealing unaired HBO shows and scripts for Game of Thrones.

The alleged hacker broke into US broadcaster HBO’s computer system and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

In return, he promised to destroy the files he had obtained and not release the material online.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced Behzad Mesri had been indicted and charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of computer hacking, three counts of threatening to impair the confidentiality of information, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of interstate transmission of an extortionate communication.

According to Vanity Fair, Mehri, also known as Skote Vahshat, was previously a hacker for the Iranian military. Acting Manhattan US.

Attorney Joon H. Kim commented on the case: “Mesri now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice.”

The indictment alleges that Mesri gained access to the HBO servers in May, getting his hands on hotly anticipated unaired episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ballers, and scripts from Game of Thrones Season 7.

In July, he began to send taunting messages to HBO executives, before ultimately demanding a ransom of $5.5m in Bitcoin.

Mesri and his group indicated that they had 1.5 terabytes of the broadcaster’s data and posted an alleged script of episode 4 of the fantasy drama’s seventh season, which was in mid-run at the time.

Though the hack put HBO and the rest of the entertainment industry on edge, it ultimately didn’t do much damage in the long run. Game of Thrones continued to break rating records even after the pesky leaks.

This isn’t the first time Game of Thrones has experienced a leak. In 2015, four episodes of the show were leaked after previews were sent to reviewers, an incident which stopped preview copies being distributed.

Meanwhile, HBO confirmed that fans of Game of Thrones, will have to wait longer for the eighth and last season and will take time to arrive, probably until the first quarter of 2019.

In a statement, they said “The collection of programming that we will have in 2018 is a source of great satisfaction, and demonstrates our commitment to continue offering bold, high-quality and innovative content that will surely continue to captivate our audiences.”

With this, it is clear that the final season of Game Of Thrones will not be released next year, but in 2019.

 

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An astutely human film from Kenya

Five years ago Kisilu Musya, a Kenyan farmer from a small village in Kitui County documented his family’s life, his village and the effects of climate change. A violent storm throws him and a Norwegian filmmaker together and we see him transform from a father to community leader and an activist on the global stage.

‘Thank You For The Rain’ is a 100 minute film documenting and addressing a range of issues linked to climate change, including justice, urbanisation, gender equality, education, access to water, refugees and adaptation.

The film which is locally hosted by Docubox (East Africa Documentary Film Fund) has been screened in cinemas and festivals in over 20 countries, won six international awards and been selected for festivals such as HotDocs, CHP:DOX and Sheffield. It will have premieres in more than seven European and 49 countries across Sub Saharan Africa by mid-2018 and will be launching in Kenya on Wednesday, November 28 at Alliance Francaise in Nairobi from 6:30pm. 

Speaking to ActScene, Impact Producer for East Africa Emily Wanja, who is among the people behind the film said that the movie for educating people about the changing climate across the globe.

“The partners are looking forward to bringing the film to communities around the world and strengthen the global climate justice movement. If anyone wants to screen the film to schools or Churches he can get in touch with us and we will happily share it,” said Ms Wanja.

Following a storm that destroys his house, Kisilu starts building a community movement of farmers fighting the impacts of extreme weather and he takes this message of hope all the way to the UN Climate Talks, in Paris, COP21. Kisilu and Norwegian filmmaker Julia Dahr’s perspectives take on a remarkable twist, shedding a powerful light on the climate justice movement and the vastly different worlds they represent.

‘Thank You For The Rain’ is a collaborative film made by Kisilu Musya, a Kenyan farmer and activist for climate change and Julia Dahr, a Norwegian filmmaker and activist.

Kisilu had never met a filmmaker before he met Julia and never even seen a full film as he lived in a very remote area with no electricity.

“It was very interesting to see Julia’s way of working and how she thought my community’s story was so important to the world. When the film team asked if they could stay with me and my family for a month to film, I said ‘yes’ without any hesitation. But I had one condition: That I could also get a camera to tell my story together with the film team,” says Kisilu.