You must remember HBO’s rough summer of cyberhacks, extortion, and leaked material from various shows, including “Game of Thrones.” Now someone has been charged for the crimes, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s office announced. However, they don’t actually have him in custody yet.
Behzad Mesri has been charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transmission of an extortionate communication. The hacker claimed he had 1.5 terrabytes of information, and tried to extort HBO for $6 million in bitcoin. HBO did not pay.
Acting United States attorney Joon H. Kim said Mesri, who used the online name Skote Vahshat, “conducted his attack on HBO in a methodical way.” Mesri is accused of leaking internal HBO emails, documents, financial information, GoT scripts, and episodes of “Ballers,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and more. Kim said Mesri also had a history of hacking on behalf of the Iranian military.
Here’s the snag: Mesri is in Iran. He’s on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and his name and photo are now out there…
Acting US Atty Kim: HBO hacker, Behzad Mesri, will forever be looking over his shoulder. He is now on FBI’s most wanted list pic.twitter.com/AagbTxcKPN
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) November 21, 2017
… but they technically haven’t caught him yet. There can’t be a trial (by combat?) until he’s arrested.
“We are unfortunately unable to arrest him today,” Kim told reporters, adding, “He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear that he will be arrested on these charges.” He was indicted, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. If convicted, Variety reports, Mesri faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud; up to five years for each of the four charges related to computer fraud; a two-year mandatory sentence for aggravated identity theft; and up to two years in prison for the extortion charge.
Chances are, he’s not going to leave Iran. But at least HBO can have some amount of closure.
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