undergroundnewsroom.com March 22, 2018

Iranian hacker charged in HBO 'Game of Thrones' theft

24 November 2017, 01:07 | Ruben Stone

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But Mesri is now in Iran, and United States officials have accepted that it would be hard to detain him.

The man, Behzad Mesri, is charged with orchestrating the high-profile hack of the United States cable channel earlier this year, which led to a standoff over a demanded ransom payment and the leak of unaired episodes of some of HBO's biggest shows, including Game of Thrones and Ballers.

Behzad Mesri has been charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transmission of an extortionate communication.

The indictment against Mesri comes amid talk of plans by US President Donald Trump to scrap a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose economic sanctions.

Over the next couple months, Mr. Mesri compromised user accounts that belonged to HBO employees and used them repeatedly to gain unauthorized access and steal proprietary information from the company, the indictment said.

Documents show how Mesri began research into HBO's computer networks and staff in May 2017. He is also accused of stealing unaired episodes of Dwayne Johnson's cable TV series Ballers and Larry David's comedy show Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Iranian hacker Behzad Mesri in an Federal Bureau of Investigation handout photo. The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO".

In a statement Tuesday, HBO said it is working with law enforcement but declined further comment. "Beware of heart attacks".

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

On July 30, Mr. Mesri began leaking some stolen materials over the internet, prosecutors said, suggesting that HBO didn't pay the ransom. 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.

"Unfortunately, I suspect that this will not be the last time we charge cyber offences against hackers with ties to the Iranian government", Kim said.

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