Iranian IDF hacker to face charges in the USA

The indictment claims Behzad Mesri is a former Iranian military who stole unaired episodes of several HBO series for ransom

The United States on Tuesday charged an Iranian computer whiz with hacking into HBO, stealing scripts and plot summaries for Game of Thrones, and trying to extort $6 million in Bitcoin out of the network.

The stolen data also reportedly included unaired episodes and scripts of the fan-favorite Game of Thrones, an epic medieval fantasy show.

US prosecutors also say he was a member of the Iranian-based Turk Black Hat Security hacking group that targeted hundreds of websites in the United States and around the world.

But there lies the problem, Mesri is resident in Iran, and though Kim warned of consequences it seems unlikely that USA authorities would be able to arrest him unless he left.

The indictment against Mesri comes amid talk of plans by US President Donald Trump to scrap a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose economic sanctions.

If convicted, Mesri faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, plus up to five years each for four charges related to computer fraud, among other sentences.

Federal Bureau of Investigation, in New York
Image Behzad Mesri is shown in this undated

Since at least May, Mr. Mesri began monitoring the online activities of HBO employees, looking for vulnerabilities in the company's network, according to prosecutors. In July, he emailed HBO executives in NY providing evidence of the hack and demanding $5.5 million in digital currency, a figure later raised to $6 million, it says.

The hacker, Behzad Mesri, also known as "Skote Vahshat", was involved "in a scheme to obtain unauthorized access to the computer systems of Home Box Office, Inc". The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO".

The alleged hacker broke in to USA broadcaster HBO's computer system and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

A spokesman for HBO said Tuesday that the company has been "working with law enforcement from the early stages of the cyber incident". He later raised the amount to US$6 million, according to prosecutors.

US officials released a document that allegedly identificeret a natural person that was behind the abduction of the data on the series Game of thrones from the company website HBO.

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