Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington in "Game of Thrones" (HBO/Helen Sloan)

HBO hack may offer "Game of Thrones" spoilers

Future scripts for the popular series may be leaking online thanks to a hack of the network's servers


Gabriel Bell
July 31, 2017 5:44PM (UTC)

A hack of HBO's servers may have allowed data and video from future episodes of several of the network's many shows to be leaked online sources talking to Entertainment Weekly have said. The hackers are claiming to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO's system.

“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information,” HBO confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”

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Reportedly, the cache of stolen data includes full, yet-to-be-released episodes of the network's shows "Ballers" and "Room 104" as well as an alleged script from the upcoming episode four of the seventh season of "Game of Thrones". EW reports that, "More is promised to be 'coming soon.'"

Yesterday, claims of the hack were sent to a number of media outlets through an email that read, "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……!!!!!!" It continued, "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."

As of now, no credible media outlet has stepped forward with an interview from any alleged hacker or forwarded details of how one may view or read any of the data allegedly procured and leaked by the supposed perpetrators (Salon won't either). Indeed, outside of HBO's confirmation that there was an attack of some sort, there is no final word on whether any of the leaked content is the real deal.

EW also obtained an internal email sent to HBO employees by chairman and CEO Richard Plepler:

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.

If the hacker (or hacker's) claims are proven true, it would not the first time a major studio or distributor has suffered a serious data breach that not only compromised internal communications, but let spill content and spoilers.

On top of the massive Sony Studios leak of 2014, the recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" film appeared online before its official release and Netflix has suffered its fair share of leaks. In 2015, "Game of Thrones" itself underwent a similar crisis as the first four episodes of season 5 appeared online before their debuts. HBO has since improved its screening security system.

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Gabriel Bell

Gabriel Bell is Salon's Deputy Culture Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @GabrielJBell

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