USA prosecutors charge Iranian in 'Game of Thrones' hack (TWX, T)

Gladys Abbott
November 23, 2017

"Behzad Mesri, an Iranian national who had previously hacked computer systems for the Iranian military, allegedly infiltrated HBO's systems, stole proprietary data, including scripts and plot summaries for unaired episodes of Game of Thrones, and then sought to extort HBO of $6 million in Bitcoins", Kim said.

The US Attorney's office in NY has filed charges against an Iranian national accused of hacking HBO's servers earlier this year. It is alleged Mesri, who also uses the name Skote Vahshat, stole episodes and storylines of dramas including the premium channel's worldwide hit Game of Thrones.

The indictment described 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. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked!"

"[Mesri] will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges", Kim said.

Mezri is still in Iran and subsequently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation might only be able to get a hold of him if he passes through another country, as the U.S. has no extradition treaty with Iran. The wire-fraud charge carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Since at least May, Mr. Mesri began monitoring the online activities of HBO employees, looking for vulnerabilities in the company's network, according to prosecutors.

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He allegedly downloaded huge amounts of data, including video files of unreleased episodes of Ballers, Barry, Room 104, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Deuce.

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

Prosecutors say Mesri threatened to delete data on HBO's computer system or release the stolen material unless he received $6 million in Bitcoin.

US officials released a document that allegedly identificeret a natural person that was behind the abduction of the data on the series Game of thrones from the company website HBO.

It turns out that HBO had been cooperating with law enforcement agencies from the start in order to prevent further damage.

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