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US charges alleged HBO hacker

The US Attorney’s office in New York has filed charges against an Iranian national accused of hacking HBO’s servers earlier this year.

Behzad Mesri is accused of stealing data related to unaired episodes of HBO series including Game of Thrones and attempting to extort US$6m from the premium US cablenet.

As Mesri is currently a resident in Iran, US officials are unable to arrest the 29-year-old and his extradition to the US is said to be unlikely.

However, the FBI has released a wanted poster of Mesri, seeking more information about him and stating that he is wanted for his alleged involvement in crimes including computer fraud and aggravated identity theft.

If convicted, Mesri faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, plus up to five years each for four charges related to computer fraud, among other sentences.

HBO confirmed in July that its computer systems had been breached, with the hacker releasing a Game of Thrones script and episodes of HBO shows such as Ballers and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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