HBO chief says emails weren’t stolen in hack
CEO’s note to staffers was meant to calm nervous employees after scripts and episodes were leaked.
HBO is still trying to figure out the extent of the cyberattack on its computer systems — but so far there is no evidence that employees’ emails were stolen, the company’s top executive told staff.
“At this time, we do not believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing,” HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler told staff members in an email Wednesday.
The note was an effort to calm the rattled nerves of employees and provide a brief update on the review of the hack.
Emails purloined during the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 became the source of much grief for top executives at the Culver City studio. In addition to the exposure of employee contracts, phone numbers and personal bank information, countless embarrassing exchanges between employees as well as former film boss Amy Pascal and producers were made public.
The contents of the emails weakened Pascal’s standing, and she was eventually forced out of the studio. The U.S. government blamed North Korea for that particular break-in.
HBO confirmed Monday that it experienced a breach that compromised some of its programming and is working with law enforcement. The network has not said who might have been behind this particular hack, which became public last weekend.
The hackers sent email messages to news organizations, including The Times, to announce their break-in and the theft of a script for an upcoming episode of HBO’s blockbuster fantasy drama, “Game of Thrones.”
HBO has confirmed that proprietary information, including some of its programming, was stolen during the cyberattack. Some reports have suggested that episodes of HBO’s “Ballers” and “Room 104” also were taken.
Hollywood studios increasingly are ripe targets for hackers trying to get access to unreleased TV episodes and films. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” episodes have long been among the most coveted treasures for hackers.
“We are also in the process of engaging an outside firm to work with our employees to provide credit monitoring and we will be following up with those details,” Plepler told employees Wednesday.
“Meantime,” he said, “continue to do the excellent work which defines this company across all departments and know that the appropriate teams are working round the clock to manage our way through this difficult period.”
HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler, shown in 2015, told employees in an email Wednesday, “At this time, we do not believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing.”