How bad was that HBO hack? Here’s some perspective: Entertainment Weekly first reported the hackers obtained 1.5 terabytes of data from the company, which could make the hacking the biggest the film and television industry has ever seen.
Not all of the data has been released, though the hackers have promised that more leaks are “coming soon.” According to multiple reports, the group has already leaked episodes of “Ballers” and the anthology series “Room 104,” plus the script for the next episode of “Games of Thrones.'”
This bit of digital espionage dwarfs the 2014 Sony hack, in which hackers claimed to steal 100 terabytes. Only 200 gigabytes of information were released to the public. If the HBO hackers expose all 1.5 terabytes of stolen information, it would be seven times as much as the Sony hack. (For those of us who don’t speak data: 1.5 terabytes is equivalent to 1,500 gigabytes.)
The hack occurred Sunday, after which the anonymous group sent an email to various reporters confirming what took place. Their email message made it clear they intended to carry out the “greatest leak of [the] cyber space era.” The full email read:
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Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. Its HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! You are lucky to be the first pioneers to witness and download the leak. Enjoy it & spread the words. Whoever spreads well, we will have an interview with him. HBO is falling
HBO confirmed the hack in two separate statements. The first came in an exclusive statement to Variety, in which the network confirmed it had “recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information.” The second came from HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, whose statement read:
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.
A new report from The Hollywood Reporter claims the hackers use the name “little.finger66,” an ode to the mischievous “Game of Thrones” character. Sources confirm to THR that HBO is working with the FBI and the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to investigate the source. Both parties helped Sony after its hack three years ago.
Variety reports the data stolen includes “thousands of HBO internal company documents,” as well as two episodes of the 2018 Bill Hader comedy “Barry” and episodes of Issa Rae’s comedy series “Insecure.”
In addition, hackers reportedly stole the personal information of an unidentified senior HBO executive, including access information to dozens of online accounts that include paid newspaper subscriptions, online banking, and personal health services. Other information that may have been stolen include financial documents, company emails, and customer information.
Update: Plepler issued a statement to HBO staff Wednesday afternoon noting the hackers were unable to compromise the network’s email system. His email read: “Many people have expressed particular concern about our e-mail system. At this time, we do not believe that our e-mail system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing.”