HBO is the latest network to be the victim of a cyber attack.
Several months after episodes of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black were leaked online early, the pay cabler has been hit by hackers specifically targeting its original programming, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Among the episodes leaked were one episode of Ballers, one episode of Room 104 and, allegedly, the script for Game of Thrones' next episode, the fourth episode of season seven.
“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information,” the network said Monday in a statement. “We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”
HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler sent out a company-wide email about the attack:
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. Any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling, and disturbing for all of us.
I can assure you that senior leadership and our extraordinary technology team, along with outside experts, are working round the clock to protect our collective interests. The efforts across multiple departments have been nothing short of herculean. It is a textbook example of quintessential HBO teamwork. The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of.
As has been the case with any challenge we have ever faced, I have absolutely no doubt that we will navigate our way through this successfully.
HBO has been hyper-sensitive to leaks in recent years ever since the first four episodes of Game of Thrones' fifth season leaked shortly before the linear broadcast premiere in 2015. In the years since, HBO has stopped sending out early press screeners for the fantasy drama.
In addition to Netflix, ABC was also targeted by hackers when eight episodes of the unscripted Steve Harvey game show Funderdome were released online early. Like the Orange Is the New Black leak, the ABC attack was linked to TheDarkOverlord. "We're not in the business to scare anyone. We're in the business of earning vast amounts of internet money," TheDarkOverlord told THR at the time.
On the film side, Disney also was the target of a recent cyber attack, with a hacker claiming to have obtained a copy of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. However, the studio later claimed the hack was a hoax and the movie was never leaked online early.
Obviously, the most memorable Hollywood cyber attack remains the Sony hack of 2014, during which time thousands of private emails from the studio's higher-ups were leaked online.
News of the HBO hack was first reported by EW.