Iranian Accused Of Hacking HBO

Camille Rivera
November 24, 2017

The US Attorney's Office is charging Behzad Mesri with the breach of HBO's systems and attempted extortion of $6 million in Bitcoin.

The indictment describes Mesri as a "self-professed expert" in hacking who had worked on behalf of Iran's military to attack military systems, nuclear software systems, and Israeli infrastructure.

"He now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder".

It says he stole unaired episodes from shows including "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Deuce", story plot summaries and scripts for "Game of Thrones" and confidential cast and crew contact lists.

Documents show how Mesri began research into HBO's computer networks and staff in May 2017.

Although Mesri is not in custody, prosecutors made a decision to publicly charge him and put him on the FBI's most-wanted list to send a message to outlaw hackers that U.S. law enforcement has the means to identify, track and get them arrested if they travel to countries where the United States has better relations, acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said. "HBO is hacked!. Beware of heart Attack!" The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO".

The alleged hacker broke in to USA broadcaster HBO's computer system and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

Rather than keep quiet, prosecutors say Mesri "undertook efforts to promote the leaks", actively seeking journalists to publicise the story.

He then leaked content to the world via websites under his control and a Twitter account.

Mr Kim declined to say if HBO had offered or paid any ransom.

Earlier this year, HBO was the victim of a hacking incident. The hack at HBO happened nearly three years after a high-profile breach at Sony Corp., which unleashed a trove of emails that embarrassed top executives. On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to attempt to block the $85 billion deal, a move which the companies have vowed to fight in court.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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