'Winter has come' for Iranian charged with HBO hack

'Winter has come' for Iranian charged with HBO hack

'Winter has come' for Iranian charged with HBO hack

An indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan accuses Behzad Mesri of hacking into the cable network's computer system in NY.

Although Mesri is not in custody, prosecutors made a decision to publicly charge him and put him on the FBI's most-wanted list to send a message to outlaw hackers that U.S. law enforcement has the means to identify, track and get them arrested if they travel to countries where the United States has better relations, acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

Although the indictment doesn't allege Iran orchestrated the attack, Kim pointedly noted that Mesri honed his skills while working for the government in Tehran.

Nytimes.com reports that Mesri has been charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, extortion and identity theft, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in United States District Court in Manhattan. He also gained access to scripts from Ballers and Room 104.

"Through the course of the intrusions into HBO's systems, Mr Mesri was responsible for stealing confidential and proprietary data including... scripts and plot summaries for unaired programming, including but not limited to episodes of Game of Thrones", the documents read.

Iranian hacker Behzad Mesri in an Federal Bureau of Investigation handout photo.

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When contacted by WorldPost, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson declined to comment.

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

What do you think is a suitable crime for a hacker like Mesri?

He first demanded $5.5 million worth of Bitcoin (an untraceable cryptocurrency) in order to not release HBO's shows for torrenting, but when HBO refused he upped it to $6 million and threatened to destroy their data servers. "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

On July 30, Mr. Mesri began leaking some stolen materials over the internet, prosecutors said, suggesting that HBO didn't pay the ransom.

Kim denied that the timing of the charges against Mesri was part of a coordinated Justice Department effort to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to stiffen sanctions against Iran.

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