Iranian Hacker Charged in HBO Breach

24 November, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • 11_21_HBO_Hack_Winter_Is_Coming

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

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY is set to announce charges against an Iranian national in last summer's HBO hack.

Today, an Iranian hacker named Behzad Mesri has been charged by a New York District Court with the attack he performed on November 8, 2017 against HBO's systems. Mesri had "previously hacked computer systems for the Iranian military", and allegedly "infiltrated HBO's systems, stole proprietary data, then sought to extort HBO of $6 million in Bitcoins", said Kim. This included confidential information on employees, unfinished scripts, emails and full episodes for some of the network's biggest shows, including Game of Thrones. The decision to indict him is part of a "name and shame" strategy the USA government has used in the past to try to curb the work of foreign hackers it doesn't expect to apprehend. However, as Engadget points out, while this is a win for HBO legally, since the hacker does not reside in the USA, he has not yet been arrested. During his communications with the network, he used an image of the Game of Thrones character Littlefinger, known for being a skilled manipulator.




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. He was then able to steal unaired episodes of popular shows such as "Ballers", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and "Room 104" between May and July. HBO received emails that indicated the information and episodes were being held for ransom, and that they would be released and/or destroyed if the cabler did not pay, Kim said, adding that HBO did not make payments.

One of those targets was reportedly HBO. The indictment did not say whether Mesri was working on behalf of the Iranian government when he hacked HBO. "That's a game we're not going to participate in", the company said in a statement.

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