HBO Hackers Leak More TV Shows But Not Game Of Thrones As £5m Ransom Isn’t Met

Hackers who infiltrated the network of US broadcaster HBO have released more un-aired episodes of popular programmes, after its ransom demands made last week were not met.

Episodes of shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ballers and others have been leaked online, but none of HBO’s biggest property Game of Thrones.

The cybercriminals have demanded the broadcaster pay a ransom of between $6 million (£4.6m) and $5.7 million to stop more files from being leaked on the Internet.

The attackers claim to earn between $12 million (£9.2m) and $15 million (£11.4m) a year from hacking organisations and claim the ransom is six months salary as it took them half a year to breach HBO.

Before this latest leak, the hackers posted alleged emails, scripts and documents, alongside screenshots of PC folders that suggest the hackers have sensitive information, contact details for actors and full episodes of upcoming shows.

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Some 1.5 terabytes of data was reportedly stolen and has been posted online, potentially spoiling upcoming episodes of Ballers, Room 104 and Game of Thrones.

HBO has indicated it will not comment every time new data is released because it doesn’t want to give the hackers any media attention. It has also been reported that HBO offered to pay the criminals $250,000 to extend the payment deadline, although it has been suggested that it never had any intention of paying this and was simply a stalling tactic.

“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,” HBO chairman Richard Plepler reportedly told staff last week.

Beyond the Firewall

An anonymous email was circulated to some media outlets that appears to be from the hacker or hackers behind the HBO cyber attack.

“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,” it said.

Such hacks are not overly uncommon given hackers are keen to get their hands on information pertaining to popular TV shows, movies and games.

Game of Thrones for instance is one of the most highly pirated TV series of all time.

The hack is likely to be one of the higher profile cyber attacks of this year, though it is up against stiff competition from the likes of WannaCry.

Do you know all about security in 2017? Try our quiz!

First Published 1/8/2017 / Last Updated 14/8/2017

Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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