United States 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 $6 million.
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.
"Mesri now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice".
An Iranian man who hacked into Israel's military is to face charges in the USA that he also hacked HBO and snatched Game of Thrones scripts before trying to blackmail the TV production company, threatening to release them online if not.
According to the complaint, Mesri's attempt to hack into HBO network began around May and lasted till approximately August of 2017.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, save for Mesri, they are unable to arrest him at this time, because he is now in Iran.
He also stole financial documents, credentials for HBO's social-media accounts and the emails of at least one HBO employee, the indictment said. The email allegedly provided evidence that the hacker had successfully stolen proprietary data from HBO, a unit of Time Warner Inc.
The second e-mail included an image of the "Night King", a Game of Thrones character, with the message "Good luck to HBO".
After HBO apparently refused to pay, Mesri began leaking portions of the stolen material on websites he controlled, the indictment says. The hacker demanded $6 million in bitcoin from the media company and threatened to release more confidential information if his demands weren't met.
In a statement Tuesday, HBO said it is working with law enforcement but declined further comment.
Earlier this year, HBO was the victim of a hacking incident.
However, the leaks didn't affect Game of Thrones in the long run as the show continued to break the records.
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