Iranian Charged With Hacking HBO

by Wade Massey November 22, 2017, 0:22
Iranian Charged With Hacking HBO

Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against a hacker "mercenary" affiliated with the Iranian military, saying he broke into HBO's computer network in the summer looking to extort millions of dollars from the pay cable channel.

The accusations against Mesri come as the Trump administration cracks down on hacking cases against USA companies involving Iranian suspects. Whether or not the U.S. authorities will be able to arrest and charge the culprit remains to be seen though.

Mesri, a member of the Iran-supported Turk Black Hat Security team, conducted "hundreds of website defacements" in the US and across the world, prosecutors said.

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.

Prosecutors said Mesri threatened to destroy data on HBO's computer system or release the stolen material unless he received $6 million in Bitcoin.

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.

According to the indictment, Mesri, aka "Skote Vahshat", engaged in the hack attack in the spring. Yes it's true! HBO is hacked! His emails includes images of the "Game of Thrones" character the Night King with messages like, "Good luck to HBO".

Last week, The Washington Post reported that national security prosecutors at the Justice Department were facing increased pressure to make public ongoing investigations involving Iranian officials.

A series of criminal cases could increase pressure on lawmakers to act, these people said.

You can read a full copy of the Behzad Mesri indictment below.

Court documents allege he had worked for Iran's military and been involved in a campaign to deface U.S. websites.

Several people familiar with the HBO hack case pointed out that the Justice Department will often wait a year - sometimes several years - before unsealing charges in an global computer hacking probe, while this case was unsealed after three months.

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