Yesterday, an Iranian hacker Behzad Mesri who used the name “Skote Vahshat” was indicted on charges related to the hacking last summer of HBO. Mesri who had, in the past, worked as a hacker for the Iranian military, is accused of hacking into computer servers of HBO and stealing video files including new and unseen episodes of Ballers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Game of Thrones all of which he threatened to release unless HBO paid a ransom in bitcoin equivalent to 6 million dollars. A day after making the ransom demand, Mesri released the stolen shows over the Internet for all to see.
While Mesri is indicted, it is not expected that he will be extradited from Iran or ever face a court in the United States unless he is foolish enough to vacation in a country outside of Iran that has extradition treaties with the United States, which has actually occurred with other hackers who were arrested and extradited in this manner.
Companies must do a better job of cybersecurity. Complicating the problem, however, is that the entertainment industry, like the health care industry which has also been shown to be extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks, has numerous third party contractors with which they do business. Security vulnerabilities at these third party contractors has led, in a number of circumstances, to larger security breaches at the bigger targeted companies.
While cybersecurity can be extremely difficult to fully implement for large companies, it is not as complex for us as individuals. Throughout my books and throughout the thousands of Scams of the day here at Scamicide we will continue to advise you on the steps to take to protect yourself from cyberattacks.