Iranian hacker charged in HBO 'Game of Thrones' theft
24 November, 2017, 01:10 | Author: Ruben Patrick
An Iranian man with ties to the country's military taunted HBO employees with the e-mail greeting "Hi All losers!" before announcing he'd stolen scripts to unreleased Game Of Thrones episodes and other sensitive data, USA prosecutors said.
A sealed indictment released on Tuesday by the US Attorney's office in Manhattan charges Behzad Mesri, also known as "Skote Vahshat", with hacking into HBO from May to August and stealing unaired episodes of programs including "Ballers", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and "The Deuce".
Mesri then supposedly stole 1.5TB of data and began blackmailing the network, demanding $6m in exchange for not leaking new episodes and scripts to the public.
The US Attorney's office in NY has filed charges against an Iranian national accused of hacking HBO's servers earlier this year.
In recent years, hackers have increasingly used cyber extortion - or stealing corporate secrets and threatening to publicize them if the victims don't pay a ransom - as a way to make money, with Hollywood studios as particularly attractive targets, experts say.
It's worth noting that Mesri was previously a hacker for the Iranian Army.
"Mersi allegedly organized his hacking scheme from halfway around the world, in Iran", Kim said.
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"Today's charges make clear that nation-states like Iran routinely employ alleged criminals [and] mercenaries like Mesri to conduct network attacks in America and elsewhere", Mr. Kim said.
"He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here", he added.
Chances are, he's not going to leave Iran.
"The memory of American law enforcement is very long".
Last month, the US President refused to certify that Iran is complying with the conditions set under the 2015 nuclear deal that seeks to limit the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in exchange for the relaxation of economic sanctions that were imposed on the country for nearly 40 years.
It is believed that more cases involving Iranian hacks will be unsealed in the coming weeks, as part of a push from the White House to force Congress to impose sanctions on Iran.
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