Iranian Charged With Hacking HBO

Fans Send Villanova to Final Four

Getty Images

He allegedly stole scripts and plot summaries for "Game of Thrones", as well as confidential video files containing unaired episodes of HBO shows including "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Deuce" and "Ballers".

The United States has charged an Iranian man with hacking into HBO and trying to extort $6 million in digital currency from the US television network.

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. Still, U.S. Attorney Joon Kim noted that Mesri doubtlessly perfected some of his techniques while working in Tehran.

"Over the course of several months, Mesri used that unauthorized access to steal confidential and proprietary information belonging to HBO which he then exfiltrated to computer servers under his control", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

It might be a total coincidence, but on the same day of his indictment, a team of hackers took Sacramento's transportation system by storm, erasing data from their servers and demanding a ransom of one single Bitcoin, which is more than $8200 at this time.

In late July, Mesri is accused of attempting to extort HBO executives, threatening to destroy data on the company's computer servers, and leaking portions of the stolen data online. HBO responded by offering a "bug bounty", a payment normally given to legitimate researchers who discover security vulnerabilities.

Behzad Mesri, who went by the alias Skote Vahshat, has been indicted for cybercrimes related to the alleged hacks, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office said. He 'promoted" the "Games of Thrones' leak by sending emails to the media.

Mesri has been charged with wire fraud, four counts of computer fraud, interstate transmission of an extortionate communication, and aggravated identity theft. He is out of reach of authorities, however, as he is not in the US.

At the time, HBO said of the extortion scheme, "That's a game we're not going to participate in". He added that although Masri remains at large, "he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice".

Latest News