Iranian Man Indicted for HBO Hack, Extortion Scheme

Feds charge Iranian hacker with stealing HBO files

Mesri had "previously hacked computer systems for the Iranian military", and allegedly "infiltrated HBO's systems, stole proprietary data, then sought to extort HBO of $6 million in Bitcoins", said Kim.

The accusations against Mesri come as the Trump administration cracks down on hacking cases against US companies involving Iranian suspects. 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".

USA prosecutors also say he was a member of the Iranian-based Turk Black Hat Security hacking group that targeted hundreds of websites in the United States and around the world.

Between July 23 and July 29, Mesri tried to extort HBO executives through emails, with a ransom note eventually demanding $6 million worth of Bitcoin, according to the indictment.

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Mr. Mesri "had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure", the indictment said, but it did not suggest that the hacking was sanctioned by the state. However, as Engadget points out, while this is a win for HBO legally, since the hacker does not reside in the U.S., he has not yet been arrested.

The indictment charged Mesri with hacking into HBO from May to August and stealing unaired episodes of programs such as Ballers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Deuce.

Some of the material Mesri is alleged to have leaked included the HBO logo with an image of Game of Thrones Winter King superimposed over it, with the words "Winter is Coming". Officials will hold a press conference to formally announce the charges Tuesday afternoon.

Asked about that report, Kim did not give a direct answer, saying he chose to unseal the charges in the HBO hacking case before the story published.

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"We made that determination that we were not likely to be able to get him and we should go public with it, " Kim said.

Behzad Mesri is accused of accessing a computer without authorisation for the purposes of commercial advantage.

In a statement in August, HBO said that was not communicating with the hacker.

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