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HBO Hack: Hackers Demand Millions as Ransom

HBO Hack

HBO was hacked recently and some sensitive data were released by the hackers online. Game of Thrones, Ballers, etc. are just a few of the shows that were stolen. The hackers also claim to have personal phone numbers of the actors of Game of Thrones and perhaps, other actors’ numbers as well. A fresh cache of HBO files was released on Monday, (7th Aug) including the script for episode 5, season 7 of Game of Thrones along with a few emails in a second data dump.

HBO Hack

The details of the previous episode were released in the first data dump.  All in all, 1.5 TB of data has been stolen and so far 3.4 GB has been released. The hackers are now demanding the payment of a ransom to prevent the further release of data (shows and confidential material).

In a video directed to the CEO of HBO Richard Plepler, the hackers used white text on a black background which threatens exposure of data if HBO fails to pay up. The video can be watched on Mashable. The hackers used the pseudonym Mr.Smith, like agent Smith from the matrix. The ransom demanded was a 6-month salary in bitcoins, which is at least $6 Million. Please note the value of a single bitcoin is $3,500.The leaks have been limited, unlike the leak in season 5 a couple of years ago.

The Episode Leak?

More material hasn’t been released by the hackers because the hackers are “negotiating with some of HBO’s top competitors for the purchase of the data dump.” However, legally speaking a company cannot purchase illicitly received content without facing legal ramifications from HBO’s legal arm. So this could be a hoax. It could be HBO trying to buy their data back through a competitor. Or there might actually be a competitor. That’s like an episode for the producers of ‘Black Mirror’ to consider.

The Previous Leak

S7 E4
Season 7, Episode 4

Considering the 4th episode was one of the best so far, it’s unlucky that it got leaked online before its official release. The episode leak was supposedly by accident when Star India (HotStar) published the episode online and unrelated to the HBO hack. The ‘Spoils of War’ episode was also one of the most expensive episodes created by HBO. Speaking of spoils, be careful of spoilers circulating online.


One thought on “HBO Hack: Hackers Demand Millions as Ransom

  1. A script for Game of Thrones, and two unreleased episodes of dramas Ballers and Room 104, were put online the same day. A week after the payment offer, on 3 August, the attackers sent out more evidence of hacked materials, and claimed to have access to the company’s entire webmail system – a claim denied by HBO. The Washington post says Hackers have targeted Hollywood studios before. A group called The Dark Overlord demanded ransom from Netflix for its hack in April of the upcoming season of Orange is the New Black.
    But the most devastating hack of a studio was 2014’s intrusion into the computer systems of Sony Pictures, which led to the public release of embarrassing e-mails, employee payment records and other information. U.S. intelligence officials ultimately blamed North Korea, which was aggrieved over an upcoming Sony film The Interview, a comedy built about a fictional assassination plot against leader King Jong Un.

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