According to a press advisory, federal authorities will charge that Behzad Mesri, a citizen of Iran, broke into HBO computers and stole data - including unaired episodes of "Game of Thrones" - and then threatened to release the info unless HBO paid an undisclosed sum.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY plans to announce charges Tuesday against an Iranian national who allegedly hacked HBO's servers and attempted to extort the premium cable programmer.
Joon Kim, acting USA attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York Office, will discuss the case at Tuesday's press conference. However, federal agents are still trying to locate Mesri, so he has not been taken into custody. From there, he obtained full episodes of some shows, including Ballers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and new series The Deuce and Room 104.
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On July 23, Mesri sent an anonymous email to HBO, writing: "Hi to All losers!"
An Iranian hacker was accused by federal prosecutors in New York Tuesday of orchestrating the summertime cyberattack that targeted HBO and compromised some of the channel's most popular programming. Yes it's true! HBO is hacked!...
In late July, Mesri is accused of attempting to extort HBO executives, threatening to destroy data on the company's computer servers, and leaking portions of the stolen data online. During his communications with the network, he used an image of the Game of Thrones character Littlefinger, known for being a skilled manipulator.
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U.S. officials say that before hacking HBO, Mesri had defaced hundreds of websites all over the world.
Mesri also at times worked on behalf of the Iranian hacker group Turk Black Hat Security to conduct "hundreds of website defacements" of platforms in the United States and elsewhere, the indictment alleges.
A news conference is scheduled for 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of NY office, to formally announce the charges.
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