Iranian Hacker Charged in HBO Hack That Included 'Game of Thrones' Script

Emmett Rice
November 22, 2017

Behzad Mesri, who went by the alias Skote Vahshat, has been indicted for cybercrimes related to the alleged hacks, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office said.

An indictment unsealed in NY on Tuesday said the suspect, Behzad Mesri, "had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure, " but the document does not allege he attacked HBO on behalf of the Iranian government.

It is hard to tell whether or not these attacks will get more popular, but we can't deny that cryptocurrencies have generated a significant amount of interest in hacking communities.

HBO confirmed a breach happened back in July.

When that demand wasn't met, he raised his asking price to $6 million and threatened to destroy massive volumes of data on HBO's hard drives, the indictment said. HBO would not comment on whether that payment was ever made. HBO didn't pay and Mesri begin leaking the shows on July 30.

He was able to compromise multiple accounts and used them to obtain unauthorized access to the company's network.

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USA prosecutors say he stole scripts and plot summaries for then unaired episodes of the global smash hit "Game of Thrones" series, and unaired episodes for multiple other shows, including the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" comedy series.

Mesri is accused of orchestrating a hack of HBO from May to August, then threatening to release stolen data. Yes it's true! HBO is hacked!

He then sent a series of anonymous emails to multiple HBO executives, employees, and other representatives providing proof that he had hacked into their systems, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Beware of heart Attack!" one message said. USA officials believe he is in Iran, leaving few options for American authorities to pursue charges.

The HBO hack roiled the entertainment industry in August, raising new concerns that studios' hit shows could lose financial value when episodes leak out early. "HBO is Falling", added in.

"For hackers who test our resolve in protecting our intellectual property ‒ even those hiding behind keyboards in countries far away ‒ eventually, winter will come", said Kim.

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