Iranian Behzad Mesri charged in HBO hack, 'Game of Thrones' script theft

Nov 24, 2017, 01:05
Iranian Behzad Mesri charged in HBO hack, 'Game of Thrones' script theft

The indictment described Mesri as a "self-professed expert" in hacking who had worked on behalf of Iran's military to attack Israeli infrastructure.

A court in NY indicted him after he had already leaked scripts for the popular TV show Game of Thrones and some episodes of Baller and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In July, he allegedly began sending taunting messages to HBO executives, demanding $5.5m in Bitcoin in exchange for not releasing the episodes.

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As of this writing, Mesri isn't in USA custody and his whereabouts were not revealed, though it's thought that he's overseas.

"Hi to all losers!" one email read.

"Yes it's true! HBO is hacked... Beware of heart attacks". He was not, however, working for the Iranian government when he allegedly hacked HBO. "HBO is falling", added to the bottom.

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Mr Mesri has been charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, extortion, and identity theft, but has not been arrested. Mesri has been added to the FBI's "Most Wanted" list and Kim noted, "He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges". Kim said that Mesri sent emails to HBO threatening to release and/or destroy the data if they didn't pay.

At the time, the hacker claimed they were not criminals, but "white hats" (used to reference people of good and moral standing, or, in computer speak, someone who hacks into a network to evaluate its security). Mr Kim noted, however, that numerous emails appeared to come from a collective "we". During the Obama administration, the USA charged five Chinese military officers for hacking American corporations to steal trade secrets and seven Iranian men for crippling bank websites with barrages of traffic, as well as infiltrating an upstate NY dam.

Starting in May 2017, Mesri conducted "online reconnaissance of HBO's computer networks and employees" and "searched for access points to the network", the indictment said. In the parlance of Game of Thrones, winter isn't an ordinary season: Instead, it's a brutally protracted, near apocalyptic event, a harbinger of collective suffering, not of dawning justice.

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