As “Game of Thrones” fans are glued to their screens to watch dragons soar, White Walkers march, and knights clash, a real-life epic battle is unfolding offscreen for HBO.
Hackers have reportedly threatened to leak more GOT scripts and other sensitive data unless the network pays them “our 6-month salary in Bitcoin,” which was implied to be at least $6 million.
In a five-minute video from a mysterious “Mr. Smith” to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, the cyber-criminals told the network that they have three days to come up with the ransom money.
According to CBS News, the group leaked sensitive data on Monday that includes draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, technical documents detailing HBO’s internal network and administrator passwords, and — according to The Verge — a list of personal phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses for all of the season 7 GOT actors including Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clarke.
The same group of hackers previously stole 1.5 terabytes of data from the network and leaked a script for GOT as well as episodes of Ballers and Room 104. HBO said that it is continuing to work with police and cybersecurity experts in order to investigate the scale of the online breach.
This latest hack comes on the heels of an unaired episode of GOT appearing on August 4 — two days before its air date — and being widely circulated online. According to The Verge, that episode’s appearance online was not the result of a hacking attempt, but a leak from Star India, an HBO distribution partner in India. The company’s logo appears watermarked throughout the leaked episode.
Main photo: Scene from Game of Thrones, season 7 [Game of Thrones / YouTube (screenshot)]