While Game of Thrones fans all over the world are eagerly awaiting the next episode of Season 7, reports have been confirmed regarding a hack of the show’s broadcaster, HBO.
The cyber attackers responsible for orchestrating the hack recently posted information they stole from the network online, which includes the popular show’s scripts and sensitive documents. The hackers have also threatened to cause more damage to the network by leaking additional information in their possession unless they are paid a ransom, amounting to millions of dollars.
The hackers have also threatened to cause more damage to the network by leaking additional information in their possession unless they are paid a ransom, amounting to millions of dollars.
The Associated Press reports that “Mr. Smith,” the name with which the hackers represent themselves, has leaked as many as five scripts for GoT episodes, which includes one from an episode that hasn’t been released yet.
During the data breach, the hackers also gained access to and posted online a few emails sent by HBO’s vice president of film programming, Leslie Cohen. The breach also includes various internal communications that took place within the network.
Among the internal documents that were posted online, there was a legal claims report against HBO and various job offer letters meant for top executives. The hackers, using a video, sent a direct message to Richard Plepler, the network’s chief executive, demanding a ransom of their six month’s salary in Bitcoin, (estimated to be six million dollars), to keep them from leaking any further information that may cause damage to the network.
The network had earlier acknowledged a data breach of “proprietary information,” further stating that the investigation was ongoing and that it’s working with security experts and the police. HBO also stated that they did not believe their email system had been compromised as a whole.
Despite the most recent hack being the second release of data from cyber attackers, the leaks have not been able to create the same amount of chaos as was created in the notorious 2014 Sony hack.
The Sony attack had publicized several thousands of personal details and emails which included the Social Security Numbers and salaries of almost 5,000 former and existing Sony employees. Amy Pascal, the chief of Sony Pictures, was made to leave soon after.
Hacking has become a common practice these days—earlier this year, hackers leaked Orange Is the New Black’s latest season (which is aired on Netflix), more than a month before its due release because their ransom demands were not met. However, the connection between these two hacks this year is not yet confirmed.
The news of the latest HBO hack came on July 31, after “Mr. Smith” had emailed various journalists about gaining access to the network’s 1.5 Terabytes worth data. The hackers had also posted online yet-to-be-broadcast episodes of Room 104 and Ballers, as well as a “treatment” or “script” of the latest GoT episode.
Those responsible for the hacking also claim that they have much more data including upcoming episodes of various HBO movies and shows, scripts, and other information that can be damaging to the network.
Game of Thrones, the most famous show in the network’s history, is presently in its second last season, and has always had a risk of being targeted of digital piracy. The video that “Mr. Smith” used to convey the ransom threat message used a black background with a white text, announcing the data breach and demand for a hefty amount of money in return for not disclosing any further information of the network.
Plepler, through a company-wide email, addressed this incident, saying that this intrusion is obviously unsettling, disturbing and disruptive for the entire company. However, he assured that technical teams with expertise in this matter and senior leaders along with other outside experts have been working all day and night to secure the collective interest of the network.
In fact, he added that the various departments have been showing “herculean effort” to face this challenge, and he believes that the network will successfully find their way out of this problem. This statement alludes to the possibility that the hackers will surely be traced, and such untoward incidents will be controlled in the future by HBO.