HBO data theft raced to Iranian military hacker

Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against a hacker “mercenary” affiliated with the Iranian military, saying he broke into HBO’s computer network in the summer looking to extort millions of dollars from the pay cable channel.

An indictment unsealed in New York on Tuesday said the suspect, Behzad Mesri, “had worked on behalf of the Iranian military to conduct computer network attacks that targeted military systems, nuclear software systems and Israeli infrastructure,”

Mesri is not in custody, and officials issued a “wanted” poster seeking help arresting him.

Using a popular line from HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones,” acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim said: “Today, winter has come for Behzad Mesri.”

Because of the new indictment, Kim said, the suspect will not be able to leave his home country without risking arrest and extradition to the United States.

“For the rest of his life — and he’s a relatively young man in his late 20s — he will never be able to travel outside Iran,” he said.

And Kim hinted at more hacking charges to come against other Iranian hacking suspects.

“Unfortunately I suspect this will not be the last time that we charge cyber offenses against hackers with ties to the Iranian government,” he said.

According to the indictment, Mesri “was a member of an Iran-based hacking group called the Turk Black Hat security team. As a member of that group, Mesri conducted hundreds of website defacements using the online hacker pseudonym ‘Skote Vahshat’ against websites in the United States and elsewhere around the world.”

Source » chicagotribune

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