hbo hack timeline

Update August 25: The hackers released a data dump that they claim contains details of the end of the Game of Thrones season 7 finale. The Mr. Smith group also claimed to have sold all the data stolen from HBO, which they claim amounts to 5 terabytes, to three customers on the dark web.

Update August 21: HBO’s hackers threatened to release the finale of Game of Thrones Season 7 “as soon as possible.”

More will be included below.

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Since HBO’s security was breached at the beginning of August, the cable network has been plagued by leaks (some through their own mishaps) and hacks from all sides.

In the two weeks since the massive HBO hack, which resulted in the theft of 1.5 terabytes of data, the company has seen Game of Thrones scripts leak online, episodes of Ballers and Room 104 make their way to the web prematurely, and recently, a breach of HBO’s social media accounts, including ones for their individual shows. To keep up with ongoing saga of the hack and the network’s other recent misfortunes — which will surely continue as long as Game of Thrones has unaired episodes — we’ve compiled an HBO hack timeline and will continue to update accordingly.

August 2: Hackers Breach HBO’s U.S. Servers

At the beginning of August, hackers stole 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO’s U.S. servers, including TV episodes, scripts, and employee emails. The hack was roughly seven times larger than the infamous 2014 Sony hack, from which the studio is still recovering.

The hackers released episodes of Ballers and Room 104 online, as well as a Game of Thrones episode script, and threatened to release more in the coming weeks. Reporters received an email from the alleged hackers, who claimed they had conducted the “greatest leak of cyber space era” and that “HBO is falling.”

The FBI and cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which investigated the Sony hack, launched an investigation into the hack.

August 4: The Fourth Episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 is Leaked by an HBO Distributor

Star India, one of HBO’s distribution partners, leaked the fourth episode of Game of Thrones season 7 online two days after the company suffered the security breach.

It was unrelated to the breach, but India police still arrested four men in Mumbai in connection with the leak.

August 8: The Hackers Post Five Game of Thrones Scripts Online, Demand a Bitcoin Ransom 

In the second data dump since HBO was first hacked, hackers released five Game of Thrones scripts and a month’s worth of emails from Leslie Cohen, the network’s vice president for film programming. Four of the scripts were from episodes that had already aired, but one was for an upcoming episode. They were all watermarked “HBO is Falling.”

The hackers, who went by the name “Mr. Smith,” also demanded “our 6 month salary in bitcoin” from HBO, which appears to be roughly $6 million, according to The New York Times.

August 16: The Sixth Episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 is Accidentally Aired By HBO Nordic

Another episode of Game of Thrones was leaked — this time accidentally by HBO itself. HBO Nordic mistakenly aired the sixth episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones in Spain for a full hour before it was taken down. But it was more than enough time for the episode to make it onto torrent streams and Reddit.

This leak was unrelated to the hack as well.

August 17: HBO’s Social Media Accounts Are Hacked

A group called OurMine carried out an attack on HBO’s social media accounts, scolding the cable network for their weak security on HBO’s official Twitter account. The since-deleted tweet read, “Hi, OurMine are here, we are just testing your security, HBO team please contact us to upgrade the security.”

The group also hacked several of HBO’s individual hit shows’ social media accounts like Game of Thrones, Veep, Ballers, Last Week Tonight, and Silicon ValleyVariety reports.

OurMine seems to be unrelated to the “Mr. Smith” group that breached HBO’s servers, and are described by Daily Beast as a “white hat” hacker group who raise awareness about lax security. Maybe they’re just avid Game of Thrones fans who don’t want any more episodes leaked — accidental or otherwise.

UPDATE: August 18: Hackers Threaten to Leak Game of Thrones‘ Season Finale

Despite fears that the early August HBO hack would result in future Game of Thrones episodes being spoiled, all the recent episodes leaked were through the fault of the network or its distributors. But not for long, if the threat that the “Mr. Smith” group hackers emailed to Mashable comes to fruition:

“Be ready for GOT S& E6 &E7 as soon as possible.”

The group had sent the email two days before Game of Thrones sixth episode of Season 7 was set to air, though the episode had been accidentally leaked earlier in the week anyway. The seventh and final episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 is set to air on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Even if the hackers don’t leak the entire 7th episode, Game of Thrones fans should still beware of spoilers for the episode after plot details for this year’s finale were leaked last year.

In the third data dump by the “Mr. Smith” group, Mashable reported that the group shared login credentials for every HBO social media account and pages for several HBO Giphy accounts. The group claimed to “have access to many HBO Platforms already” and wrote “HB-OLD is Dying….” before the pages were deleted.

UPDATE: August 25: Hackers Leak the End of Game of Thrones Season 7 on the Dark Web

Mashable reported that the group of hackers who stole 1.5 teraybtes of data from HBO, who call themselves “Mr. Smith,” just released another data dump containing what they claim is the end of the Game of Thrones season 7 finale.

The hackers have now claimed that the data initially stolen from HBO equals not 1.5 terabytes, but a whopping 5 teraybtes. In addition to releasing the dump to Mashable, Mr. Smith also claims to have sold the information to three buyers on the Dark Web, which reportedly earned them half the $6.5 million in Bitcoin ransom they requested from HBO. The hackers told Mashable:

“By the way, we officially inform you and other hundred of reporters whom emailing us that we sold ‘HBO IS FALLING’s entire collection (5 TB!!!) to 3 customer in deep web and we earned half of requested ransom. We put a condition for our respected customers and they approved. We will leak many many waves of HBO’s internal stuff to punish them for playing us and set an example of greedy corporation.”

“Game of throne is over. Wait for major waves!!! RIP HB-Old.”

HBO would not comment on the data dump, but told Mashable that the hackers “may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention,” but the network won’t participate in their “game.”

To be continued…

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