It sounds like HBO’s woes are about to worsen. A few days after HBO was hacked resulting in 1.5 Terabytes of data being stolen, some unaired episodes of several shows were released online. Released alongside was the upcoming Episode 4 of Season 7 of its most popular show Game of Thrones although the watermarking on the episode revealed that the leak came from Star India and (possibly) had nothing to do with these hacks. Now it sounds like more material from the leaks may be on the way.
Popular entertainment website Variety has received an anonymous email from the hackers claiming that they’re just getting started with the leaks. The email hints at additional material being leaked as early as the coming Sunday. The hackers have also threatened to unleash the massive leak gradually every week. Whether that will include some other episodes and scripts, or further episodes of Game of Thrones Season 7 remains to be seen.
HBO suffered a major hack last week, the severity and enormity of which is reminiscent of the infamous Sony Pictures hack of 2014 and is starting to dawn upon the internet slowly. Among the material released so far had been a script for the upcoming Game of Thrones Season 7 episode The Spoils of War. Variety has also discovered that personal details of a senior HBO executive such as bank account details, paid subscriptions and personal health details with one of these credentials possibly having given the hackers access to the executive’s personal email accounts.
HBO acknowledged the attacks in an official statement released to the press. “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”, read the statement. CEO Richard Plepler had also sent an internal email to its employees addressing the situation.
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.
– CEO Richard Plepler in an Internal Email sent to HBO Employees
Game of Thrones has not had a particular good history with leaks so far. Two years ago, it had suffered another major leak when the first four episodes of Season 5 were made available to the public. That leak came from copies of the episode sent in advance to be screened for critics so they can have their reviews ready beforehand. The nature of the leaks was so huge that it lead to HBO to abandon the practice of pre-screening episodes for critics going forward. With the show’s popularity on a rise after it posted record viewership numbers for Season 7 despite airing in a summer season, HBO’s security team is going to have a tough task on their hands.
Personally, we at Appocalypse understand the effort that the show’s makers have put in crafting the now final episodes of the show and have stayed away from the leaks so far, relying purely on our own speculation to see where the show goes. We’ll be watching the episode when it airs live this Sunday and will have our review ready at this space. In the meanwhile, you can read our review of Episode 3 The Queen’s Justice or visit our Game of Thrones section to read more about the show.