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"For hackers who test our resolve in protecting our intellectual property - even those hiding behind keyboards in countries far away - eventually, winter will come", acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.

He allegedly downloaded huge amounts of data, including video files of unreleased episodes of Ballers, Barry, Room 104, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Deuce.

The copy of the complaint uploaded by The Daily Beast mentions Mesri as an expert in computer hacking techniques, who had allegedly worked on behalf of Iranian military to break into the computer systems of the world.

According to the complaint, Mesri's attempt to hack into HBO network began around May and lasted till approximately August of 2017.

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 United States cablenet. The company referred questions about the criminal case to Kim's office. "HBO is hacked! Beware of Heart Attacks!". "Yes it's true! HBO is hacked..." The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from "Game of Thrones", and said: "Good luck to HBO".

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He first demanded $5.5 million worth of Bitcoin (an untraceable cryptocurrency) in order to not release HBO's shows for torrenting, but when HBO refused he upped it to $6 million and threatened to destroy their data servers. He has also been accused of demanding $6 million in bitcoin in return.

The hacking took place this year, just as season seven of the hit series was airing, and prosecutors allege Mesri began assessing HBO's online security systems in May.

"He now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder".

He pointed to charges filed in March 2016 against hackers linked to the Iranian government who allegedly launched attacks on United States financial institutions and on a flood-control dam north of New York City.

Kim denied that the timing of the charges against Mesri was part of a coordinated Justice Department effort to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to stiffen sanctions against Iran.


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