HACKERS HIT GoT: 'HBO IS FALLING'
Game of Thrones has been hit by hackers -- and they aren't dragons or white walkers. HBO
MARK DANIELL & NELSON BRANCO/ 24 HOURS
First, it was Netflix's Orange is the New Black. Now, hackers have targeted TV's biggest juggernaut: HBO's Game of Thrones. The real-life spoilers have allegedly leaked the script for next Sunday's fourth episode of GoT 's Season 7.
"HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information," the network confirmed in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
The cyber thieves claim to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from the cable giant.
An anonymous email sent by the hackers on Sunday read: "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......!!!!!!" In an email sent to company staff, HBO chair and CEO Richard Plepler wrote: "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. 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."
HBO didn't confirm which titles had been targeted, but in addition to script details from next Sunday's Game of Thrones, unaired episodes of Ballers and Room 104 have been allegedly posted online with warnings that more leaks will be "coming soon."
"HBO is falling," the hackers warned.
This isn't the first time HBO has to deal with cybersecurity: Two years ago, four episodes were leaked on torrent sites which were sourced from press screeners.
It's becoming an increasing problem in creative circles.
In fact, insiders claim more traditional TV networks tend to relent to these extortion schemes fearful spoilers will impact ratings and buzz, along with having their copyrighted material shared freely around the world.
However, some don't cave to extortion in an effort to prevent further blackmailing.
And for the most part, loyal fanbases agree.
For example, many Orange is the New Black viewers passionately campaigned to the show's larger audience to eschew the first handful of episode leaks before the new season debuted.
"It was exciting to see the fans have our back and be so loyal," raved Natasha Lyonne to 24 Hours. "This work represents our sweat, blood and tears. Our fans basically said: 'If you steal this show from them, you're ruining six months of their hard work. How can you do this?'We feel buoyed by their loyal spirit. Our fans are on the case!"
For Lyonne, she believes hackers who target media companies don't realize they're hurting individuals and not the corporations they are targeting.
"The reason why stealing is bad - said your mom! - is because it is," she punctuates.
"Whenever a creative theft happens, it's the artists who are affected. These hackers target the illusion of 'the machine'or 'the man'but it's really the personal impact these thefts have on us. Just say no to stealing."