Iranian Hacker Charged in HBO Breach

HBO's 'Game of Thrones' hacker hit with charges in the US

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

(HBO), stealing data - including episodes of the popular television series "Game of Thrones" - and attempting to extort $6 million worth of the digital currency bitcoin from the company.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's office in NY announced charges against an Iranian national who stands accused of hacking into the network's servers.

Ultimately, the attack resulted in the release of a Game of Thrones script, as well as episodes of HBO shows including Ballers and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The hacker released a script from "Game of Thrones" and episodes from several shows.

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According to just-released charging documents, Mesri was a "self-professed expert in computer hacking techniques" who had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to attack military and nuclear software systems, as well as Israeli infrastructure.

"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.

The Department of Justice has charged a former Iranian military hacker who authorities said hacked into HBO servers and tried to profit from data he allegedly stole.

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. He was not, however, working for the Iranian government when he allegedly hacked HBO.

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Federal prosecutors in NY charged Mesri with seven counts, including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, computer hacking, and extortion.

US federal prosecutors allege that Mesri leaked some of the stolen data on the Internet. There's no indication HBO paid any of the $6 million. "As far as the criminal case is concerned, we prefer to leave any comments to the US Attorney's Office", he said in an email.

"In the simplest of terms, he lurked in the alleyways of the Internet, identified the vulnerabilities of his victim, and pickpocketed their information from thousands of miles away", FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney said in a statement.

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