If anyone in the content industry is still wondering whether it was a hefty investment in cyber-security is worth it, HBO has the answer–it is. The premium cable and satellite content provider confirmed rumors that they had recently been hacked to the tune of 1.5 terabytes of data that includes full episodes of certain shows, scripts and more.
HBO released an official statement earlier this week, stating: “HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. 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.”
This news, of course, comes at a terrible time for HBO as it is in the middle of airing the penultimate season of one of its highest grossing original shows, Game of Thrones. The hackers confirmed that some of the content they stole was, in fact, from Game of Thrones’ latest season.
After the theft, hackers emailed major media organizations bragging about the heist. The email reads: “Subject: 1.5 TB of HBO data just leaked!!!”
Body: 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……!!!!!! 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. HBO is falling.”
That email then linked to a website that purportedly provided access to a portion of the materials that they stole.
HBO responded to the news with an email to all of their employees, that reads:
“Dear Colleagues, As most of you have probably heard by now, there has been a cyber incident directed at the company which has resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming. 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. It is a textbook example of quintessential HBO teamwork. 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. Richard”
If the true scale of this hack is correct, then it is several times larger than the infamous Sony hack in 2014. How will this affect HBO? Time will tell.