Television giant HBO faces a cybersecurity crisis as the company experiences its second leak in five days.
On Monday, HBO faced its first cyber attack of the week where hackers stole “thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents,” according to IP Echelon, a security company hired to scrub search results following the hack. The revelation came as part of a take-down notice sent to Google so the site could remove the links to the hacked files.
In addition to the script of an upcoming episode of "Game of Thrones," episodes from their series "Insecure," "Ballers," "Room 104," and upcoming show "Barry," were released. Hackers claim to have stolen total of 1.5 terabyte of data which include infrastructural data and the personal information of employees, further suggesting there would be more leaks to come.
“The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler wrote in a staff email obtained by Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
More recently, an unaired episode of "Thrones" appeared on the internet Friday morning, sparking more controversy over the network's security. However, the leaked episode is not part of Monday's successful hacking, as first reported by The Verge. Sources familiar with the breach explain the episode was leaked by HBO's distribution partner, Star India — the logo of which is watermarked on the episode.
"This confirms the compromise of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, earlier this afternoon," says a Star India spokesperson. "We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action."
Each year, "Game of Thrones" continues to hold the title as the most pirated show on television — a title the network has boasted previously. But now, as the leaks become more common and — using the stolen personal information as proof— more insidious, HBO faces a systemic security issue. This week's leaks suggest HBO has a lot of work to do to ensure major hacks such as these don't spoil their shows with a cult-following, and don't put the personal information of their employees in jeopardy.
As for now, don't watch the leaked episode — a move more for your self respect rather than any moral reason considering it was uploaded in 360p. Avoid all of your social media accounts to ensure you won't find a spoiler. The leaked episode premieres this Sunday on HBO.