Iranian Nation-State Hacker Indicted for HBO Hack, Extortion

'Winter is coming,' DoJ official says of overseas hackers such as the alleged HBO hacker who steal intellectual property from the US.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

November 22, 2017

1 Min Read

The US Department of Justice today unsealed an indictment charging an Iranian national with a cyberattack earlier this year against HBO and using the stolen content for $6 million worth of Bitcoin in an extortion scheme.

Iranian resident Behzad Mesri, 29, aka "Skote Vahshat," has not been arrested by US authorities. According to the indictment says Mesri - who had previously performed hacking for the Iranian military - stole scripts, plot summaries, and other proprietary program information from HBO and leaked some of stolen HBO content online, including information on upcoming episodes of "Game of Thrones" and other programs. He also stole emails from at least one HBO employee, financial files, and online credentials for HBO social media accounts.

"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.  American ingenuity and creativity is to be cultivated and celebrated -- not hacked, stolen, and held for ransom.  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 Acting Manhatten US Attorney Joon H. Kim.

Among the charges Mesri faces are wire fraud, hacking, aggravated identity theft, and extortion-related activity. Read more on the indictment here.




About the Author(s)

Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights