'Game of Thrones' Leaked Script Sends HBO Chasing After Hackers

HBO has confirmed that it's under a major cyberattack.

As first reported by Entertainment Weekly, hackers claim to have obtained 1.5 terabytes of data from the company, and informed several reporters via anonymous email Sunday. The hackers have leaked upcoming episodes of Ballers and Room 104 online. Additionally, they've released a script that appears to be for the upcoming fourth episode of Games of Thrones' Season 7.

“We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms," read a statement released by HBO. "Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”

Additionally, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler sent around an email to employees this morning concerning the hack:

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 hackers have indeed stolen 1.5 terabytes of data, that amounts to far more than two episodes and a script draft. It could mean a future leak akin to the size of the one HBO suffered back in 2015, when the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 appeared online shortly before the season premiere. In terms of size, the amount is nowhere near the 100-terabytes-stolen Sony hack of 2014; however, the cultural significance of a major Game of Thrones leak would be huge. That certainly seems to be the hackers' plan, according to the email circulated among reporters:

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……!!!!!! 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 Game of Thrones' popularity continues to grow and viewers constantly try to find ways to skirt HBO's monthly subscription fee, there is more and more incentive for episode leaks and pirated material from the network. Even leaking a trailer for Game of Thrones can receive considerable attention, as it did before the San Diego Comic-Con in mid-July. It's understandable that HBO and other subscription-based services such as Netflix seek to guard their titles even more closely.

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