‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Info Released by HBO Hackers
HBO’s critically acclaimed fantasy epic Game of Thrones has achieved record viewership this Summer, some of which has spilled over to its other shows Insecure and Ballers. But the premium cable network has been targeted by a shadowy cabal of hackers who have been holding the show hostage.
On July 30, The Daily Beast—along with numerous other media outlets—received a mysterious email from an anonymous account with the headline, “1.5 TB of HBO data just leaked!!!” The body of the email read as follows: “The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forgot 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.” At the bottom of the message, it directed all inquiries to a specific HBO executive—leading some to surmise that the perpetrator(s) could consist of at least one disgruntled former employee.
The email directed to a now shut-down website that included some of the information that had been stolen from HBO, including two yet-to-be-aired Game of Thrones episodes.
According to CNBC, in order to stop the leaks, “The hackers demanded money [in bitcoin] worth six months of their salary, claiming they make $12 million to $15 million from stealing intellectual property and blackmailing companies. Those hackers appear to have been engaged in email correspondence with HBO.” An email obtained by CNBC that was sent from HBO to the hackers on July 27 read: “As a show of good faith on our side, we are willing to commit to making a big bounty payment of $250,000 to you as soon as we can establish the necessary account and acquire bitcoin.”
HBO has refused to comply with the cyber terrorists’ demands, so the leaks have continued—including dozens of personal emails from executives, and entire unaired episodes of shows, including three episodes of Game of Thrones, two episodes of Insecure, pilot episodes to the upcoming series The Deuce and Barry, two episodes of the upcoming season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the hackers sent what they are calling the “6th wave” of leaks to media outlets, consisting of contractual information for the stars of Game of Thrones’ seventh season, as well as episode summaries and script outlines for the entire seventh season of Thrones—including the unaired seventh episode (and season finale) airing this Sunday, and login/password information for HBO’s social media pages, including all of its hit shows. Furthermore, the hackers have threatened to release the Game of Thrones finale episode.