United States charges alleged HBO hacker

24 November, 2017, 01:07 | Author: Raquel Nash
  • Game Of Thrones 'HBO' Hacker Has Been Finally Identified And Charged

Federal prosecutors unsealed charges Tuesday against a hacker linked to Iran's military, accusing him of hacking into HBO's computer network, stealing unreleased scripts of "Game of Thrones" and then threatening to leak them publicly unless HBO paid a multimillion-dollar ransom.

Acting US Attorney Joon Kim described Mesri as an experienced and sophisticated hacker who had also worked on behalf of Iran to attack military systems.

"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.

An Iranian man who hacked into Israel's military is to face charges in the US that he also hacked HBO and snatched Game of Thrones scripts before trying to blackmail the TV production company, threatening to release them online if not.

Beginning in May, Mesri searched for ways to get into Home Box Office's network, using points where employees and other authorised users accessed the system from outside, according to prosecutors.

As Mesri is now a resident in Iran, US officials are unable to arrest the 29-year-old and his extradition to the US is said to be unlikely.

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The second e-mail included an image of the "Night King", a Game of Thrones character, with the message "Good luck to HBO". "HBO is hacked!. Beware of heart Attack!"

The alleged hacker broke in to United States broadcaster HBO's computer system and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

Mr Kim declined to say if HBO had offered or paid any ransom.

But there is nothing in the indictment suggesting Mesri targeted HBO on behalf of Iran's government or with its financial support, said Collin Anderson, a USA -based internet researcher who specializes in Iran.

For entertainment companies, it isn't credit-card numbers at stake in a data breach but intellectual property and loss of business if spoilers of upcoming movies and TV shows are released early. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

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