HBO hackers have just carried out their threats. Unaired episodes of the Game of Thrones, Ballers and Room 104 series are available for download at a site called WinterLeak. Similarly, the personal data of a company Vice-President is on the run.
On July 31st, a group of hackers announced that they had hacked into HBO. The criminals claimed to have stolen a total of 1.5 terabytes of data from the firm’s servers. Many thought it was just talk, but the threats have just been carried out.
The hackers have just created a website called WinterLeak, on which the data stolen from HBO is freely available. For security reasons, we will not give the web address of this site here. You should know, however, that the cybercriminals did not lie when they warned you.
Thus, the episodes 3 and 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7 are officially on the run. Season 3 episodes 1, 2 and 3 of Ballers, and episodes 2 and 3 of Room 104 are also available for download. Even the new series Barry, which has not yet aired, is concerned with the leak of episodes 1 and 2.
HBO series, especially Game of Thrones, are watched by tens of millions of people. Each episode broadcast brings in a lot of money for the firm, mainly through advertising. If viewers download these runaway episodes, they are likely not watching them on television. Such a leak before the official release therefore represents a colossal loss of earnings for the company.
However, the seriousness of this leak goes far beyond the scope of entertainment, and clearly exceeds that of the Disney hack. On the WinterLeak website, 4 other files are available for download. Three of them have the title “HBO is falling”, but their link does not work.
The fourth file is entitled Viviane Passwords. It contains the personal and financial data of Viviane Eisenberg, Vice President Legal Affairs of HBO. In particular, you will find all his login and password for Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, Dropbox, Apple or PayPal services. Even his own HBO account credentials were stolen.
Worse still, his credit card numbers, Easy Pay, American Airlines, Verizon or UPS customer numbers are publicly displayed. In total, more than twenty Viviane Eisenberg identifiers are freely available. Now all he has to do is change all his passwords.
At the end of the file, the hackers wrote “To be continued”. It is therefore likely that data from other executives of the firm will be released soon. The three files HBO is falling may be replaced by this information. Hackers may be trying to blackmail HBO executives one by one until one of them gives in and pays a ransom.
It’s hard to understand why HBO is being so hard on us. The cybercriminals behind this leak are undoubtedly trying to extort money from this large company, but there is no justification for such disclosure of personal data. Hackers may have been fed up with the media uproar caused by Game of Thrones, whose season 7 once again broke an audience record.
It is difficult to measure the scale of the case and to predict its consequences for HBO and the entertainment industry in general. Anyway, Phonandroid reminds you that downloading this stolen data is totally illegal.