U.S. indicts Iranian in 'Game of Thrones' HBO hack
U.S. indicts Iranian in 'Game of Thrones' HBO hack
Iranian Behzad Mesri charged in HBO and 'Game of Thrones' hack
24 November, 2017, 01:07
Mesri, who prosecutors claim has worked as a hacker for the Iranian military, faces charges of computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and extortion.
Mesri is an alleged member of hacking group Turk Black Hat Security Team, and in the past, prosecutors say, has worked for Iran's military to attack Israeli computers and infrastructure. The indictment, however, is part of a "name and shame" strategy the USA has used in the past to quell interference by foreign hackers it doesn't expect to be turned over. He had allegedly hacked several HBO staffers who had remote access to its servers.
HBO acknowledged the breach in late July, after the attacker began leaking news of an exploit after the broadcaster didn't pay the US$5.5 million (in Bitcoin) ransom, later incresaed to $6 million. This included confidential information on employees, unfinished scripts, emails and full episodes for some of the network's biggest shows, including Game of Thrones.
Considering Mersei now isn't in the United States, it may take some time for him to be caught by the USA government, but hopefully this sends a clear message to those looking to hack into HBO and leak the final season of Game of Thrones - which will be airing sometime in 2018 or 2019. At one point, prosecutors said, Mr Mesri bragged he had stolen 1.5 terabytes of data. "HBO is hacked.Beware of heart attacks". His emails includes images of the "Game of Thrones" character the Night King with messages like, "Good luck to HBO".
HBO suffered a cyberattack in July, where the hacker leaked scripts for "Game of Thrones," as well as unreleased episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Ballers" and "The Deuce." As the Washington Postnotes, the indictment "does not allege he attacked HBO on behalf of the Iranian government" and seems to indicate that he was instead inspired by avarice. During the Obama administration, the US 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.
"This is a reminder that our country and our businesses remain prime targets of hackers around the world", Mr Kim said of the HBO hack.
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