U.S. prosecutors have said "winter has come" for an Iranian man charged with hacking HBO, stealing episodes and demanding a ransom.
United States prosecutors also accused him of working for the Iranian military, carrying out cyberattacks on their behalf including on nuclear and Israeli infrastructure.
The US Attorney also denied that the charges against Mr Mesri were part of a coordinated Justice Department effort to increase pressure on lawmakers to stiffen sanctions against Iran. (Check out his Wanted poster.) According to NBC News, the indictment doesn't charge Mesri with working for the Iranian military when he carried out the attacks on HBO.
According to the complaint, Mesri's attempt to hack into HBO network began around May and lasted till approximately August of 2017. But at least HBO can have some amount of closure. 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.
On July 23, an anonymous email was sent to HBO employees that included the following message: "Hi to All losers!"
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The hacker also stole internal HBO financial and strategic documents, and among them were home addresses and phone numbers of "Game of Thrones" stars. HBO did not pay.
When contacted by WorldPost, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson declined to comment.
For entertainment companies, it isn't credit-card numbers at stake in a data breach but intellectual property and loss of business if spoilers of upcoming movies and TV shows are released early.
During the cyber siege this summer, HBO worked with investigators and law-enforcement agencies and alerted "Game of Thrones" cast members, some of whom had their personal information exposed.