Game of Thrones has come under attack from hackers who breached HBO's security, and some important intel has been leaked. At the top of the leak list have been scripts and unreleased episodes. But perhaps even more important is an email that confirms HBO tried to negotiate with these Hackers, offering them $250,000 to stop any future leaks. Especially when it comes to their precious Game of Thrones series. But that may have caused more problems, rather than stopping them.
Everybody remembers the 2014 Sony hack, a hack that was so big that the studio is still feeling shockwaves from the incident, 3 years later. So when an anonymous hacker going by the name of "Mr. Smith" announced that he and his team had penetrated HBO's servers, a feat that took the team 6 months to complete, HBO understandably started to feel some pressure to pay the ransom that the hackers demanded. Scripts for Game of Thrones Season 7 showed up online along with episodes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's show Ballers in addition to personal information from HBO employees.
According to Reuters, as the material began to leak, HBO offered the hacking group $250,000, which came to light in a, you guessed it, leaked email exchange between HBO and the hackers. Sony flashbacks started to come in waves as the hackers delivered personal information of HBO employees, including actors and more Game of Thrones scripts were delivered to Variety Magazine. The hackers are demanding $6 million dollars from HBO to prevent any further leaks of private information.
In an effort to stall the leaking of any more sensitive material, HBO offered the hackers $250,000 dollars on July 27th, through what is called a "white hat program," which is where HBO would pay the group as if they were IT professionals who just happened to find a security vulnerability within HBO's fortress of servers. Sources close to the investigation claim that the hackers rejected the offer from /game-of-thrones-season-7-worldwide-ratings-records/HBO and that the whole offer from HBO was just a "stalling tactic" to figure out just exactly what the hackers had gained in their breach of a reported 1.5 terabytes of data.
The leak comes at a pretty bad time for HBO's parent company, Time Warner, who are in the process of trying to merge with AT&T, which would be huge deal as they would become one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. Time Warner is currently trying to seek regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T for an estimated $85.4 billion dollars. It appears as if the hackers rejected the offer from HBO since they went on to leak further information to Variety, including the screenshots of the email chain between the hackers and HBO. While the leaked information has yet to truly hurt HBO in regards to leaking more episodes, another script has been leaked for Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, which doesn't really seem like such a big deal.
Trouble is still not out of the question for the company, but so far there has yet to be damage anywhere close to what happened to Sony back in 2014. It has been rumored that the Sony hack could end up costing the studio a whooping $100 million dollars, so this is a very interesting time to watch what HBO and Time Warner decide to do with this situation. It also remains to be seen just exactly what the hackers have in their 1.5 terabyte hack, it could be possible that it's taking quite a while to get through all of the information that they retrieved. This is an ongoing story, so expect updates soon.