Everybody knows that Sunday night is Game of Thrones night, but this past weekend, the show became the center of attention for a new reason, one that had nothing to do with dragons, direwolves, incest, or poison.
HBO has become the latest victim of a major cyber hack, including leaks from upcoming episodes of Ballers, Room 104, and yes, possibly even Game of Thrones—and the hackers claim they won’t stop there.
The network confirmed the hack in an official statement, referring to it as a “cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information.”
Variety reports that one of the hackers has adopted the name “Littlefinger” as his pseudonym—which is fitting, of course, because if you do watch Game of Thrones, you know that Littlefinger, aka Petyr Baelish, is not only the worst, but also super sneaky, manipulative, crafty, and just generally conniving. Hey, it’s a better alias than “Hot Pie,” anyway.
The hacker claims to have obtained 1.5 terabytes of data from the network. According to Erik Rasmussen, from the cybersecurity firm Kroll, this amount of information could be more than just television episodes. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “At 1.5 terabytes, it could be a whole block of TV, or worse, it could be emails, financial documents, employee, or customer information.”
This is not the first time a major entertainment company has been hacked: in 2014 Sony Pictures faced a similar debacle, after hackers got their hands on a whopping 100 terabytes of data and leaked thousands of emails, employee social security numbers, and other personal information.
HBO Responds to the Hack
HBO has yet to confirm what specific content was stolen, though episodes of Baller and Room 104 have appeared online, along with an alleged script of Game of Thrones’ episode four. The company ensures, however, that cybersecurity is their top priority.
Richard Pleper, HBO chairman and CEO, sent an email to HBO employees, informing them of the security breach:
"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 fight against leaks and spoilers has been a constant battle for HBO, so much so that they ceased the practice of sending advanced Game of Thrones screeners to press and industry insiders two years ago after four episodes of season 5 were leaked.