New data dump by HBO hack­ers

Doc­u­ments in­clude ex­ec­u­tive’s emails and ‘Thrones’ ac­tors’ info.

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Meg James and Ryan Faugh­n­der meg.james@latimes.com

The hacker group that took credit for break­ing into HBO’s com­puter sys­tems re­port­edly re­leased new doc­u­ments Mon­day, in­clud­ing mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als, emails from an ex­ec­u­tive, ad­dresses of “Game of Thrones” ac­tors and more spoil­ers from the hit TV show.

The pre­mium pay-TV chan­nel, owned by me­dia com­pany Time Warner Inc., re­it­er­ated late Mon­day that it does not think the com­pany’s en­tire email sys­tem was breached.

“The foren­sic re­view is on­go­ing,” HBO said in a state­ment. “The re­view to date has not given us rea­son to be­lieve that our email sys­tem as a whole has been com­pro­mised.”

The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter and other pub­li­ca­tions ear­lier Mon­day re­ported that mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als re­lated to the “Game of Thrones” drama se­ries and emails from an HBO vice pres­i­dent, cov­er­ing a six-month pe­riod, were posted on­line. The hack­ers, in the on­line dis­clo­sures, noted that it took them six months to in­fil­trate the sys­tem.

Hack­ers re­port­edly leaked a pre­lim­i­nary out­line of the up­com­ing fifth episode of the cur­rent “Game of Thrones” sea­son, sim­i­lar to the first batch of stolen ma­te­rial that in­cluded an out­line of episode four. The doc­u­ment ap­pears to have been pre­pared more than a year ago, ac­cord­ing to a screen shot on the web­site Tor­ren­tFreak. The fan­tasy se­ries, based on the books by Ge­orge R.R. Martin, pre­miered in 2011 and is in its sev­enth sea­son.

The new data dump also in­cludes per­sonal in­for­ma­tion for “Game of Thrones” cast mem­bers, in­clud­ing home ad­dresses and phone num­bers, ac­cord­ing to tech web­site The Verge.

Like the cy­ber­crim­i­nals who hit Sony Pic­tures in 2014, the hack­ers of HBO have been parcel­ing out their re­leases and teas­ing more leaks as the sit­u­a­tion goes on. The U.S. gov­ern­ment blamed the Sony Pic­tures at­tack on North Korea. The big­gest threat to Sony, in that case, turned out not to be leaks of un­re­leased films, but em­bar­rass­ing emails be­tween ex­ec­u­tives and pro­duc­ers about movie stars and Pres­i­dent Obama.

The mo­tive for the at­tack on HBO has been un­clear, but it ap­pears the hack­ers may have been fi­nan­cially mo­ti­vated. Al­legedly in­cluded in the dump is a let­ter to HBO Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Ple­pler from a per­son tak­ing credit for the hack, go­ing by the name “Mr. Smith.” The per­son of­fered to keep the in­for­ma­tion pri­vate in ex­change for ran­som. It’s not clear when the let­ter was sent, and there’s no in­di­ca­tion HBO has paid.

In ad­di­tion to the in­ter­nal doc­u­ments, the hack­ers’ lat­est leak re­port­edly con­tains a screen shot of dig­i­tal fold­ers to show the ex­tent of the files ac­cessed.

The Times has not been able to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the claims. HBO had no ad­di­tional com­ment Tues­day. The net­work has not ver­i­fied what was stolen, though it has said that law en­force­ment and out­side se­cu­rity firms are in­volved.

“We con­tinue to work around the clock with out­side cy­ber­se­cu­rity firms and law en­force­ment to re­solve the in­ci­dent,” HBO said.

Nearly 10 days ago, hack­ers took credit for the breach, say­ing, “We suc­cess­fully pen­e­trated into a huge com­pany; we have ac­cess to their in­ter­nal net­work, emails, tech­ni­cal plat­forms, and data­base and got pre­cious stuff that blaze your eyes,” ac­cord­ing to a mes­sage sent to The Times and other me­dia out­lets.

In the email, hack­ers claimed to have stolen 1.5 ter­abytes of in­for­ma­tion from HBO and in­cluded a link to a site to ac­cess the ma­te­rial, which in­cluded episodes of “In­se­cure,” “Ballers” and “Room 104.” That site was taken down af­ter search en­gine Google re­ceived a Dig­i­tal Mil­len­nium Copy­right No­tice from a pri­vate firm work­ing on be­half of HBO claim­ing that the site shared “thou­sands” of HBO’s in­ter­nal doc­u­ments.

‘We con­tinue to work around the clock with out­side cy­ber­se­cu­rity firms and law en­force­ment to re­solve the in­ci­dent.’ — HBO

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