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Computer hackers

Hackers hit HBO again, posting more Game of Thrones scripts online and demanding millions in ransom

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 10:11pm

Hackers using the name “Mr Smith” posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online on Monday, and demanded that HBO pay a ransom of several million dollars to prevent further such releases.

The data dump included what appear to be scripts from five more Game of Thrones episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month’s worth of email from the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice-president for film programming. There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims against the network and job offer letters to top executives.

HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of “proprietary information”, said it’s continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts. The network said Monday that it still doesn’t believe that its email system as a whole has been compromised.

This is the second data dump from the purported hacker. So far the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. In that attack, hackers unearthed thousands of embarrassing emails and released personal information, including salaries and social security numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees.

Those behind the HBO hack claim to have more data, including scripts, upcoming episodes of HBO shows and movies, and information damaging to HBO.

In a video directed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, Mr Smith used white text on a black background to threaten further disclosures if HBO doesn’t pay up. To stop the leaks, the purported hackers demanded “our six-month salary in bitcoin”. which they implied is at least US$6 million.