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24 November 2017, 01:05 | Nina Hammond
HBO's 'Game of Thrones' hacker hit with charges in the US
The indictment described Mesri as a "self-professed expert" in hacking who had worked on behalf of Iran's military to attack Israeli infrastructure.
Behzad Mesri, also known as "Skote Vahshat", was charged with the hack in a sealed indictment that was released by the US Attorney's office in Manhattan.
According to the indictment, Mesri launched a campaign this past May to gain access to the entertainment giant's servers through employee user accounts and got his hands on new episodes of shows, including "Ballers", "Room 104" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm", as well as scripts for "Game of Thrones".
Federal authorities have charged an Iranian who has ties to his country's military with hacking into HBO's computer system, stealing unaired episodes of hit shows and demanding millions in Bitcoin as ransom.
- An Iranian man has been charged with allegedly being behind the hack of HBO's servers and leak of Game of Thrones episodes.
Prosecutors are expected to release more information at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. He has not been taken into custody and the feds are trying to track him down. Nevertheless, the attorney said, the indictment sent a message to Mr Mesri and all other hackers that "they are not safe behind the anonymity of computer screens". Things then went from bad to worse throughout the course of the eight-episode run including leaked Game of Thrones scripts and the biggest episode of the season, 'Beyond the Wall', when Jon and his party ventured past the Wall to capture a white walker.
"HBO was on [e] of our hard targets to deal with but we succeeded", he wrote in one July 23 email, according to the indictment. Not long after, he reportedly upped his ransom demand to $6 million.
"Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."
Mesri has also been accused of defacing numerous HBO-affiliated pages, like the network's Giphy page (above).
Indicting foreign government hackers is often viewed more as a tool of deterrence and diplomacy than an attempt to bring the digital assailants to justice, since their governments will never extradite them to face charges. Just past year, he noted, the federal government charged seven Iranians with carrying out a cyber attack on dozens of USA banks on behalf of the Iranian government.
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