Hackers all have different intentions. Some work to making computer networks more secure, while others develop malware and exploit software vulnerabilities.

Of the latter group, there is a special subclass of criminals: those who make the FBI’s Cyber’s Most Wanted list. These individuals give a whole new meaning to black-hat hacking. The nature of their crimes is such that all U.S. law enforcement agencies have mobilized against them under a shared commitment to bring these bad actors to justice.

For the next few weeks, we will be counting down 10 of the most wanted black-hat hackers by the FBI. This week, we begin with number 10.

Behzad Mesri

Behzad Mesri
Behzad Mesri (Source: ABC News)

In May 2017, Iran-based black-hat hacker Behzad Mesri began conducting reconnaissance of the networks and employees at Home Box Office (HBO), a premium cable and satellite television network. He spent the next two months compromising employees’ accounts so that he could access corporate servers and exfiltrate sensitive data. Some of the information he stole included footage from upcoming episodes of popular HBO shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Three weeks before OurMine hacked the network’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, Mesri sent an email to multiple HBO executives and employees claiming he had stolen 1.5 terabytes of HBO’s data. A follow-up email alleged that he had lifted full scripts and cast lists for “Game of Thrones” as well as “precious data” for unaired shows.

Mesri, who previously worked for the Iranian military, issued his ultimatum to HBO on 23 July 2017: pay $5.5 million in Bitcoin or suffer the public release of its stolen data. The member of the Turk Black Hat hacking group upped his demands to $6 million three days later.

After HBO refused to meet the ransom, Mesri publicly released (Read more...)