HBO announced that some of its programming has been stolen in a cyber incident, including an unaired script of Game of Thrones.


A group of hackers claims they stole “staff and internal data” from the programming network, which, if true, could rival the severity of the 2014 Sony hack. The company says is it working with police and cybersecurity farms to investigate. “There has been a cyber incident directed at the company which has resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming,” wrote HBO chairman and CEO Richrd Plepler in an employee email.

On Sunday, an email from an unnamed group made its way to entertainment reporters with the tagline, “HBO is failing… We successfully penetrated HBO’s huge network and gathered most imporatnt [sic] files and films & scripts and so on.” The hackers promised a script of a future Game of Thrones episode, as well as unaired episodes of BallersInsecureRoom 104, and Barry.

These claims have as-of-yet been unconfirmed, and hackers generally overstate their loot. If true, however, the hack could resemble the 2014 hack of Sony, which resulted in a leak of Orange is the New Black episodes.


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So how serious is the leak? Not as much as you might think. Hacks have occurred before and not severely impacted major shows. For example, half of Game of Thrones season five was leaked prior to its official release, but that didn’t affect its ratings. In fact, that season’s premiere set a viewership record, pulling in nearly 8 million audience members.

While the hack may not damage HBO’s viewership, it might hurt the network’s reputation. The Sony leak proved that internal emails could do serious financial damage, despite a show’s success. The public has no information yet on the repercussions of the hack, nor if the hackers had any conversations with HBO prior to the leak.

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