Through July and August, a then unidentified hacker stole and released data from HBO. The leaked data included episode spoilers for 'Game of Thrones', as well as actual unreleased episodes from other major HBO shows. At the time, the hacker demanded $6 million in Bitcoins, but HBO refused to negotiate and instead, referred the matter to law enforcement.
And after a lengthy investigation, the FBI unsealed the indictment against the alleged hacker, now identified as 29 year-old Iranian Behzad Mesri.
"Behzad Mesri, an Iranian national who had previously hacked computer systems for the Iranian military, allegedly infiltrated HBO’s systems, stole proprietary data, including scripts and plot summaries for unaired episodes of Game of Thrones, and then sought to extort HBO of $6 million in Bitcoins." said Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
In an interesting twist, the Department of Justice also revealed that Mesri had previous work with Iranian military as a cyber attack specialist. It is not believed that the Iranian military is in any way involved with this latest HBO hack.
Mesri has been charged with a range of offences which could lead to a prison sentence lasting 42 years, if he's found guilty on all charges and has to serve them consecutively. Mesri is charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, three counts of threatening to impair the confidentiality of information and one count of interstate transmission of an extortionate communication. No copyright infringement charges have been laid at this time.
But it's unlikely Mesri will face justice in the United States, as he currently resides in Iran.