- US prosecutors have charged an Iran-based hacker with stealing content from HBO, including unaired episodes of “Game of Thrones,” according to an indictment obtained by Reuters.
- Bezhad Mesri, the hacker known as “Skote Vahshat,” has been charged with hacking into and stealing episodes, scripts, and plot summaries from HBO, between May and August of this year.
- The indictment describes Mesri as having previously worked on behalf of the Iranian military.
US prosecutors have charged an Iran-based hacker with penetrating the network of cable TV provider HBO and stealing episodes and plot summaries for unaired programs including “Game of Thrones,” and then threatening to release the data unless he was paid $US6 million.
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 sought regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T.
A sealed indictment released on Tuesday by the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan charges Behzad Mesri, also known as “Skote Vahshat,” with hacking into HBO from May to August and stealing unaired episodes of programs including “Ballers,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “The Deuce.”
Mesri also stole scripts and plot summaries for programs including “Game of Thrones,” according to the indictment.
The indictment describes Mesri as a “self-professed expert” in hacking who had worked on behalf of Iran’s military to attack military systems, nuclear software systems, and Israeli infrastructure. It also alleges that he helped an Iranian hacking group, Turk Black Hat Security Team, deface hundreds of websites in the United States and other countries.
Reuters was unable to reach Mesri for comment. A spokesman with the US Attorney’s Office said that Mesri had not been arrested, but declined to comment on the suspect’s whereabouts.
HBO gave the following statement to Business Insider:
“HBO has confirmed in the past that we were working with law enforcement from the early stages of the cyber incident. As far as the criminal case is concerned, we prefer to leave any comments to the US Attorney’s Office.”
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