Just hours after this Sunday's Game of Thrones episode leaked online, HBO is dealing with yet another cyber-security breach, this time revolving around social media. A notorious hacker group known as OurMine managed to take over the Twitter and Facebook accounts for Game of Thrones, along with the social media accounts for HBO and HBO NOW. There isn't said to be any extensive damage such as data leaks, and it isn't believed that this is connected to the ongoing HBO hack that has resulted in the leak of Game of Thrones scripts, episodes of Ballers and Room 104, and personal data of Game of Thrones stars.
Variety broke the news last night, with writer Andrew Wallenstein posting a screengrab of a tweet on the main HBO Twitter page, which reads, "Hi, OurMine here, we are just testing your security, HBO team, please contact us to upgrade the security ourmine.org." The same message popped up on the HBO NOW Twitter, along with the Game of Thrones Twitter and Facebook pages. HBO was ultimately able to regain control of the accounts and delete the offending tweets, but there were screengrabs taken from many Twitter users, which you can see below. This is just the latest in an onslaught of HBO hacking incidents, which all appear to be unrelated, especially since this is the first time a group has claimed responsibility.
OurMine is a hacking group that has become quite notorious in recent years, after hacking the Twitter accounts of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, Pokémon Go creator John Hanke, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. OurMine claims to be a "white hat" group, meaning they aren't malicious in nature and are merely testing security protocols of information systems, but others have disputed that due to incidents of online vandalism and unauthorized access to accounts. Regardless, there never seems to be any major damage inflicted by OurMine, except the infiltration of these accounts.
The HBO cyber-attack started at the end of July, when these unidentified hackers leaked Game of Thrones scripts, along with unreleased episodes of Ballers and Room 104. The group claimed to have stolen more than 1.5 terabytes of data from the network. Then just days later, Game of Thrones Episode 7.4 leaked online just days before airing, although that didn't stop the episode from breaking a ratings record when it aired on HBO, pulling in 10.2 million viewers, just barely eclipsing the 10.1 million viewers who watched the Season 7 premiere. The leak was unrelated to the HBO hack, though, with Indian police arresting four in connection to the leak, who had access to the episode through Star India, one of HBO's international broadcast partners.
Then last week, the HBO hack heightened even more, with the leak of Game of Thrones stars' personal data, including the email addresses and phone numbers of Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen). That data dump also included several emails with a ransom video sent to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, demanding six months of his salary to be transferred via bitcoin. There was a report that the network offered the hackers $250,000, it doesn't seem that offer was accepted. Take a look at the screengrabs that captured part of OurMine's social media hack, including Game of Thrones accounts.