Iranian Hacker Charged in HBO Breach

Danny Woods
November 22, 2017

The purloined data included scripts and plot summaries of unaired episodes of 'Game of Thrones, ' Kim added.

He is also accused by US authorities of previously conducting computer attacks for the Iranian military that targeted nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure.

He allegedly stole scripts and plot summaries for "Game of Thrones", as well as confidential video files containing unaired episodes of HBO shows including "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Deuce" and "Ballers". He has not been taken into custody and the feds are trying to track him down.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Mesri will face "real consequences" as the "memory of American law enforcement is very long".

Specifically, he's "wanted for his alleged involvement in criminal activities to include unauthorized access to computer systems, stealing proprietary data from those systems, and attempted extortion for approximately $6 million in Bitcoin".

"For the rest of his life - and he's a relatively young man in his late 20s - he will never be able to travel outside Iran, " he said.

The court papers do not accuse Mesri of working on behalf of the Iranian government when he allegedly infiltrated HBO's networks.

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But in the HBO hack, authorities say his motives may have been simpler: greed.

On July 23, Mesri sent an email to HBO executives that read, "Hi to all Losers!"

Because of the new indictment, Kim said, the suspect will not be able to leave his home country without risking arrest and extradition to the United States. He 'promoted" the "Games of Thrones' leak by sending emails to the media.

Emails, financial balance sheets, employment agreements and marketing strategies, were listed among the 1.5 terabytes of data claimed to have been stolen by the then-unnamed hackers.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that national security prosecutors at the Justice Department were facing increased pressure to make public ongoing investigations involving Iranian officials.

In a statement in August, HBO said that was not communicating with the hacker.

Prosecutors are expected to release more information at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

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