Cyber Attackers Hit HBO Network, Threaten to Release ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes

The network is looking into the incident

HBO hit with cyber attack. ONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

In the digital age, cyber attacks have become commonplace and strangely, entertainment entities have often found themselves the victim of these hacks. In 2014, Sony was on the receiving end of a devastating hack. Earlier this year, several episodes of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black were leaked online. Today, HBO is the latest network to be hit.

According to THR, hackers specifically targeted HBO’s original programming.

“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information,” the network said in a statement. “We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that several episodes of upcoming TV series and at least one alleged script or treatment have been posted online by hackers. These hackers are said to have claimed to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO so far (the Sony hack resulted in 100 terabytes being stolen). At this time, it is believe an episode of the Dwayne Johnson comedy Ballers and Room 104 have been put online. An accompanying written message allegedly said that the upcoming fourth episode of Game of Thrones season seven will be “coming soon.”

HBO is not confirmed the specifics of the hack.

THR also reports that HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler sent out the following company-wide email on Monday:

Dear Colleagues,

As most of you have probably heard by now, there has been a cyber incident directed at the company which has resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming. Any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling, and disturbing for all of us.

I can assure you that senior leadership and our extraordinary technology team, along with outside experts, are working round the clock to protect our collective interests. The efforts across multiple departments have been nothing short of herculean. It is a textbook example of quintessential HBO teamwork. The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of.

As has been the case with any challenge we have ever faced, I have absolutely no doubt that we will navigate our way through this successfully.

Despite the ongoing massive success of Game of Thrones, HBO has found itself in the cross-hairs in recent weeks. Viewers have recently organized the #NoConfederate campaign in response to the network’s announcement that GoT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ next series will involve modern-day slavery. To date, HBO has refused requests from some viewers to cancel the series.

EW reports that an anonymous email was sent to several reporters on Sunday, saying: “Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. Its HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! You are lucky to be the first pioneers to witness and download the leak. Enjoy it & spread the words. Whoever spreads well, we will have an interview with him. HBO is falling.” 

Cyber Attackers Hit HBO Network, Threaten to Release ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes