A ransom demand includes lots of leaked internal data

A recent security breach at HBO has led to the personal phone numbers and email addresses of some Game of Thrones actors leaking online. Hackers broke into HBO’s systems and reportedly stole 1.5 terabytes of data, including scripts for upcoming Game of Thrones episodes and two unreleased episodes of Ballers and Room 104. The Guardian reports that hackers have released 3.4GB of data, and that they’re demanding that HBO pay an undisclosed ransom to prevent further leaks.

Contained within the leaked data are draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, and technical documents detailing HBO’s internal network and administrator passwords. One document reportedly includes a list of personal phone numbers and email addresses for Game of Thrones actors Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clark. A month’s worth of emails from HBO’s vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen, is also said to be part of the latest leak.

HBO says it is reviewing what data has leaked as part of an ongoing forensic investigation. In a statement to Wired, HBO spokeperson Jeff Cusson says “the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised.” If HBO’s email systems haven’t been fully accessed then it will spare the company an embarrassing repeat of what happened to Sony Pictures. Hackers broke into Sony Pictures back in 2014, and the leaked emails did the most reputational damage to the company.

It seems unlikely that the HBO hackers have obtained copies of actual Game of Thrones episodes. While there have been threats of more leaks, only scripts for the TV series have surfaced online so far. In a separate incident, a Game of Thrones episode leaked last week before its public TV airing. The leak wasn’t part of the HBO hack, and distribution partner Star India accidentally published it online. Either way, it’s clear HBO’s security nightmare is far from over.