The high-profile hack played out publicly over the summer, as the unknown perpetrators leaked the script of an episode from the eighth season "Game of Thrones" before it aired.
He is also accused by USA authorities of previously conducting computer attacks for the Iranian military that targeted nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure. He then stole confidential and proprietary data from HBO that included unaired episodes of HBO shows including "Ballers", 'Barry, ' 'Room 104, ' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm, ' and 'The Deuce'. The decision to indict him is part of a "name and shame" strategy the US government has used in the past to try to curb the work of foreign hackers it doesn't expect to apprehend. Yes it's true! HBO is hacked!.
Using a popular line from HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones, " acting USA attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim said: "Today, winter has come for Behzad Mesri". Whether or not the United States authorities will be able to arrest and charge the culprit remains to be seen though.
They also alleged that he helped an Iranian hacking group, Turk Black Hat Security Team, deface hundreds of websites in the United States and other countries.More news: MPs Put Pressure On Government For 'Gig Economy' Reform
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. The indictment did not say whether Mesri was working on behalf of the Iranian government when he hacked HBO. A later email upped the amount to approximately $6 million in bitcoin and also threatened to wipe information off of HBO's servers.
Emails, financial balance sheets, employment agreements and marketing strategies, were listed among the 1.5 terabytes of data claimed to have been stolen by the then-unnamed hackers.
In a statement, Kim said, "Mesri now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice". Officials will hold a press conference to formally announce the charges Tuesday afternoon.