Iran-based hacker charged with trying to extort HBO

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U.S. prosecutors have charged an Iran-based hacker with penetrating the network of cable TV provider HBO and stealing episodes and plot summaries for unaired programs including "Game of Thrones", and then threatening to release the data unless he was paid $6 million. 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. He also gained access to scripts from Ballers and Room 104.

"Today, winter has come for Behzad Mesri".

He also stole scripts and plot summaries for unaired episodes of Game Of Thrones and other shows, confidential lists of cast and crew contact information, financial documents, credentials and e-mails from at least one HBO employee, prosecutors say.

"HBO has confirmed in the past that we were working with law enforcement from the early stages of the cyber incident", the network said in a statement.

"A series of criminal cases could increase pressure on lawmakers to act", the Post's sources said.

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Kerimov has a diplomatic passport that theoretically grants him immunity from criminal prosecution. Kerimov, 51, is among Russia's wealthiest people and a member of Russia's Federation Council.

What do you think is a suitable crime for a hacker like Mesri? The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO". "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..."

He first demanded $5.5 million worth of Bitcoin (an untraceable cryptocurrency) in order to not release HBO's shows for torrenting, but when HBO refused he upped it to $6 million and threatened to destroy their data servers. He later raised the amount to US$6 million, according to prosecutors.

On July 30, Mr. Mesri began leaking some stolen materials over the internet, prosecutors said, suggesting that HBO didn't pay the ransom.

His alleged hack attack took place just before the most recent season of Game of Thrones launched this summer (17).

Kim also discussed that there may be more charges against Iranian Regime hackers in the near future.