Iranian Hacker Charged in HBO Breach

22 November, 2017, 01:28 | Author: Kim Reid
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The indictment of Behzad Mesri alleges that he stole proprietary data, including information about unreleased episodes of "Game of Thrones", and then sought to extort the company. The decision to indict him is part of a "name and shame" strategy the US government has used in the past to try to curb the work of foreign hackers it doesn't expect to apprehend.

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.

Joon Kim, acting USA attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York Office, will discuss the case at Tuesday's press conference. "Today's charges make clear that nation states like Iran routinely employ alleged criminals, mercenaries like Mesri to conduct network attacks.in America and elsewhere", Kim said. Yes it's true! HBO is hacked! Some of the leaked videos included a graphic of the "Game of Thrones" character the Night King with the message: "Winter is coming".

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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.

Mesri allegedly infiltrated HBO's servers through employee user accounts in May.

Behzad Mesri is described as a "self-professed" computer hacking expert who has worked on behalf of the Iranian military, targeting Israeli infrastructure among other targets. He allegedly orchestrated a hacking scheme in an attempt to extort the company for $6 million worth of bitcoin.

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On July 23, Mesri sent an email to HBO executives that read, "Hi to all Losers!"

At the time, HBO said of the extortion scheme, "That's a game we're not going to participate in".

He declined to say if the company's investigation into the breach was complete or how much the incident had cost the cable network. He said Mesri would face consequences even though U.S. authorities could not immediately arrest him. "American ingenuity and creativity is to be cultivated and celebrated - not hacked, stolen, and held for ransom".

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