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Hackers hit HBO, claim to release ‘Game of Thrones’ information

LOS ANGELES — “Game of Thrones” network HBO has been hit with a cyberattack, making it the latest entertainment company to become compromised by hackers.

HBO confirmed in a statement Monday that it experienced a cyber incident that compromised proprietary information. The company said it immediately began to investigate the incident and is working with law enforcement and independent cybersecurity experts.

“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,” said HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler in a memo to staff. “Any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling, and disturbing for all of us.”

Hackers earlier sent emails to media outlets claiming they had put HBO information online, including a script for an upcoming “Game of Thrones” episode and video of new episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104.”

“The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening,” the hackers said in one email, which included a hyperlink to the leaked information.

HBO, which is owned by media giant Time Warner Inc., is the latest to endure threats from cyber criminals. In May, hackers claimed to have stolen Walt Disney Co.’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and demanded ransom, though that hack turned out to be fake.

In another major recent incident, Netflix was attacked by a hacker known as the Dark Overlord, which offered its signature “business proposal,” as it calls it. Episodes from the new season of “Orange Is the New Black” were uploaded after the company refused to pay the ransom.

The biggest example of a Hollywood cyber breach was the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was blamed on North Korea. That attack came as Sony was about to release the comedy “The Interview,” about an attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Hollywood has long been a victim of illegal hacking and piracy. Digital copies of major blockbusters are frequently uploaded via BitTorrent after they’re released in cinemas, and again after they’re released on home video.

“Game of Thrones,” which draws millions of viewers a week, is already one of the most popular targets of piracy. According to website TorrentFreak, the Season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones” was pirated 90 million times, citing data from piracy monitoring firm MUSO.


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