It’s been a rough week at HBO. On Monday, the company alerted employees to a major data loss. By Friday morning, an unaired episode apparently stolen from Mumbai-based distributor Star India was posted online. The question of how deep the two breaches go is one that has everyone scratching their heads—including HBO executives.
A copyright infringement website posted this complaint reportedly filed on HBO’s behalf demanding a Google takedown of winter-leaks.com: “The large (100GB) files linked from this page contain masses of copyrighted items including documents, images, videos and sound.”
Winter is coming in the kingdoms of Game of Thrones (GoT). Perhaps that’s why hackers chose winter-leaks.com for a URL. The website is no longer accessible.
HBO’s woes are similar to the hack that hit Sony in 2014. In that breach, scores of damaging internal emails were leaked causing the company great embarrassment. There’s no indication yet that HBO suffered a similar fate or that the hacker is the same individual. In fact, one data security expert said she sees differences between the two hacks and doesn’t believe there’s any connection.
It is not unusual for the magnitude of big hacks to be revealed in stages as a forensic investigation unfolds. HBO hasn’t revealed much at this point but, in addition to GoT, CNBC stated that episodes of two other HBO originals—Room 104 and Ballers—were also leaked.
CAUTION! Downloading stolen Game of Thrones or other content could expose you to malware and other consumer woes. Plus, it’s illegal.