Suspected hackers have leaked the script for an upcoming episode of HBO's Game of Thrones after they managed to breach HBO's internal IT systems.
Aside from the Game of Thrones script, the hackers also leaked one episode each from HBO's Ballers and Room 104 TV series.
The incident took place after hackers managed to infiltrate HBO's internal IT systems and stole up to 1.5TB of videos and scripts. In an email to select reporters, the hackers owned up to the data breach and also shared links to the stolen content that included the script for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4.
'HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms,' said HBO to Entertainment Weekly.
'Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold,' it added.
HBO's data breach follows a similar one in June when hackers were able to get their hands on ten episodes of the popular series 'Orange Is the New Black' which they later leaked even after being paid $50,000 in ransom.
Dark Overlord, the hacker group in question, attacked a Windows 7-based computer owned and operated by Larson Studios, a post-production movie studio in Hollywood. After the studio paid it $50,000 to get the content back, the group contacted Netflix and demanded further ransom in exchange for the episodes. After Netflix declined to cooperate, they released all ten episodes on the internet.
HBO has not confirmed on whether it was contacted by hackers after they got their hands on its videos and scripts.
'Within the mix of scripts and other titbits from the haul of 1.5tb of data stolen, there may well be some sensitive personal information that might be used for other nefarious means, but at the end of the day this is simply a data breach. Someone broke into their “building” and stole goods or products that does not belong to them. It’s no different to the contents of your garage, the pictures in your cloud drive or your logins and passwords,' says Mark James, Security Specialist at ESET.
'There are only two ways of stopping it- tighter control over the protection and security of the goods in the first place, or simply not having a demand for the end product. Unfortunately, we as humans like to be the holders of knowledge that no one else has and that single reason will be why this type of “bootie” has a digital or notoriety value,' he adds.