Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Feds charge Iranian hacker with stealing HBO files

Lena Headey in season seven of Game of Thrones Lena Headey in season seven of Game of Thrones
Nicole Thomas | 21 November, 2017, 18:41

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

USA officials say that before hacking HBO, Mesri had defaced hundreds of websites all over the world.

"Along with the "Thrones" treasure trove", he also stole episodes of "The Deuce" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm", officials contend.

Mesri is accused of repeatedly obtaining unauthorized access to HBO's servers.

The indictment, however, is part of a "name and shame" strategy the US has used in the past to quell interference by foreign hackers it doesn't expect to be turned over.

The Justice Department announced today that it has charged an Iranian man with this year's hack of HBO, a high-profile security breach that led to the early release of TV episodes and scripts.

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According to the indictment, Mesri is a "self-professed expert in computer hacking techniques, and had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems, and Israeli infrastructure".

The cyber attack surfaced over the summer as HBO was running a new season of "Game of Thrones" and as the cable network's parent Time Warner Inc sought regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T Inc in an $85.4 billion deal announced in October 2016.

"Hi to All losers!" Behzad Mesri demanded a "non-negotiable" ransom of $5.5 million in Bitcoin and included an image of the "Night King", a villain from "Game of Thrones", with the message "Good luck to HBO", according to federal prosecutors.

Mesri leaked some of the stolen data over the Internet onto websites he controlled, U.S. federal prosecutors allege.

A news conference is scheduled for 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of NY office, to formally announce the charges.

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