New data dump by HBO hackers
Documents include executive’s emails and ‘Thrones’ actors’ info.
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