Indictment against Iranian Unsealed for Cyberattack and Extortion Scheme Targeting HBO

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Friday, December 1, 2017
Bruce Zagaris

On November 21, 2017, an indictment was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against an Iranian national, Behzad Mesri, 29, also known as “Skote Vahshat,” for his involvement in a scheme to obtain unauthorized access to the computer systems of Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”), steal proprietary data from those systems, and obtain $6 million worth of Bitcoin from HBO through extortion by threatening to disseminate stolen content.  After HBO did not meet his demands, Mesri leaked the stolen content on the Internet, including but not limited to confidential information about future episodes of the popular television series, “Games of Thrones,” and video files containing unreleased episodes of other television series of HBO.