Iranian Hacker Charged with Extortion over HBO Cyberattack

Tomas Mccoy
November 24, 2017

Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim called Mesri "an experienced, sophisticated hacker who has been wreaking havoc on computer systems around the world for some time".

As Mesri is now a resident in Iran, US officials are unable to arrest the 29-year-old and his extradition to the US is said to be unlikely.

Mr. Mesri allegedly stole scripts and plot summaries for unaired episodes of the HBO's series "Game of Thrones", as well as video files with unaired episodes of such shows as "Ballers" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

The charges from the Department of Justice are multiple counts of accessing a computer without authorization, computer fraud, identity theft and extortion.

According to the complaint, Mesri's attempt to hack into HBO network began around May and lasted till approximately August of 2017.

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

This Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced that they have opened the case against Behzad Mesri, whose aliases include Skote Vahshat and Mr. Smith. Included was an image of "Game of Thrones" Night King character, leader of an army of zombies, with the words, "Good luck HBO".

Although the document doesn't state that the Iranian Regime told Mesri to attack HBO, it should be made clear that he is deeply tied to the Regime and would be unlikely to attack such a prominent target without their permission.

A spokesman with the US Attorney's Office said that Mesri had not been arrested, but declined to comment on the suspect's whereabouts. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

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

The hacking took place this year, just as season seven of the hit series was airing, and prosecutors allege Mesri began assessing HBO's online security systems in May.

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

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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