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Winter is here for HBO as Game of Thrones episode data is leaked online

Everyone knows that cyber attacks are no joke. With the right savvy and the writing of a few complex algorithms, data hackers can mine the information stored on your personal computer for their own gain. Imagine if, one morning, you woke up to find that your personal search history had been posted to your Twitter feed. Yeah, you'd be mortified, and the social/emotional fallout of that event would haunt you for, well ... probably ever. 

Now, visualize yourself as a part of a major corporation, and confidential data that was vital to your business platform was leaked to your viewers. As the person or persons in charge, you'd be freaking out while trying to patch the holes of your already sinking ship. While that might sound a tad dramatic, I'm sure there is someone on HBO's PR end that would agree.

Today, Entertainment Weekly has learned that upcoming episodes of a few HBO programs, and at least one script or treatment have been uploaded to the web by hackers who breached the network's systems. After the attack on HBO, the group claiming responsibility for the theft had stated that more leaks could be on the way.

In response to the attack, HBO issued a blanket statement that reads as follows:

“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cyber security firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.” 

What we know for now is that the hacker group claims to have obtained 1.5 terabytes of data from the company. Since gaining access to the information, the shadowy organization has released an upcoming episode of BALLERS as well as one for ROOM 104. There is also some written material circulating online that allegedly hails from next week's episode of GAME OF THRONES.

For the moment, HBO is remaining tight-lipped in regard to what shows were a part of the stolen information. However, in wanting to inform his employees of the matter, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler crafted an email to HBO employees alerting them of the theft. You can read the contents of that email below:

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

On Sunday, a rather boastful and anonymous email was sent to multiple news outlets which stated, “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.” 

Good grief, it's hard enough to avoid spoilers for GAME OF THRONES if you don't watch it live, and now we've got to contend with more cyber attacks on the show? Remember, near the beginning of GAME OF THRONES season five, when four whole episodes of the show were leaked? Yeah, that was some nasty business, and it could happen again if HBO doesn't get this situation under wraps. 

Here's hoping that the leak can be patched soon, and we can all go back to watching our favorite characters die in real-time, as opposed to knowing about it days ahead of time.

Extra Tidbit: Having your social network hacked is enough of a pain in the ass to deal with. I can't even imagine what a major corporation must go through to patch the damage.

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