HBO’s nightmare began at the tail-end of July, when an untold number of entertainment journalists all received the same email from “Mr Smith” with the subject header screaming:
“1.5 TB of HBO data just leaked!!!”
The email itself, addressed “to all mankind”, promised “the greatest leak of space era” (we also don’t know) – as well as a link to a site that hosted the hacked data, explains WIRED.
The initial data included an unreleased Game of Thrones script and not-yet-aired episodes of Ballers, Insecure, Room 104, and Barry.
The hackers (not the good kind) then promised more where that came from and boy, did they deliver:
A week later, the same person or group followed up with a ransom note demanding millions of dollars in exchange for the leaks to stop, as well as a screenshot to a file directory that implied they had access to either information about or episodes of shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Insecure.
Not long after, in separate and distinct incidents, two episodes of Game of Thrones leaked out early.
On Thursday, hacker group OurMine hijacked HBO’s main Twitter account, along with those of several HBO shows.
Now the initial group of hackers are threatening to release the last episode of Game of Thrones – set to air on Sunday – if HBO does not pay, reports Indie Wire:
The hackers are asking for $6.5 million in bitcoin as ransom for the information and assets, and HBO reportedly hasn’t closed the door to their demands.
When Mashable pressed HBO for comment on this new information, the network referred them to a previous statement, which included:
“We are not in communication with the hacker and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released. It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO. The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention.
That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.”
So over the course of a few weeks, HBO was hacked in four separate incidents, each with their own lesson, explains Richard Ford, chief scientist at a security software company:
“They have some supply chain issues, they have malicious insiders, they had accidental insiders, they have an account compromised.
“It crosses a range of issues that highlight the challenges that a big organization like HBO faces.”
The scope of HBO’s business, coupled with the variety of hacks and security breaches, shows just how easily cybersecurity is overlooked by companies, especially when it concerns outbound data:
“From a defense [sic] standpoint, it’s all about being able to protect your data wherever it’s gone, and understanding how that data is ultimately leaving your control.
“A lot of the time in security we’re focused on inbound, we’re very threat-centric. But looking outbound, protecting that data wherever it is, is a paradigm shift we’d do well to execute on.”
Although HBO’s breach hasn’t been as damaging as the one Sony suffered in 2014, we’re only two weeks in to the worst of it. HBO needs to act fast and ensure basic security hygiene is followed now and forever:
Even a step as using two-factor authentication, for instance, could forestall potential Twitter takeovers.
Although there has been no mention regarding how the hackers accessed the information, it’s important to ensure that every aspect of your company – and your personal – is protected to the max.
You answer? Local information security specialists NEWORDER, of course.
Protecting your data, whether it’s your company’s or personal, is necessary to ensure that no matter where it is stored, inbound or out, it doesn’t fall into the hands of the black hat hackers, those hacker’s whose mission is tainted with malice.
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