DMCA filing says hackers stole “thousands” of internal HBO docs — but company denies emails taken


The hack of HBO isn’t limited to a handful of Game of Thrones episodes; a DMCA takedown notice issued on behalf of the company says hackers stole “thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents.” And, as the notice indicates, the data is already in the wild.

Variety first noticed the notice., which was filed by IP Echelon, a company that performs such duties for a number of media companies. Hundreds of gigabytes of “copyrighted items including documents, images, videos and sound” were being served from a site that has since been taken down. It originally prominently advertised “HBO HACKED” as well as the twin taglines “Winter in [sic] coming” and “HBO is falling.”

Links to several unreleased shows were provided, including Game of Thrones with its scripts, as you have probably heard, but also some not due to air for months: episodes 1 and 2 of the Bill Hader vehicle Barry, for instance.

An HBO executive’s email and phone number were provided as well; I’ve contacted them but can’t say I expect to hear back. If my email was put up like that I’d be screening my inbox with a vengeance.

More company documents, reportedly internal emails and the like, appear to have been linked in files labelled “HBO is falling” parts 1 through 3. Variety reported that personal information of some people was being published online, as well as images of internal tools. The hackers claimed to have nabbed some 1.5 terabytes of data in total.

What news lurks in the leaked files? It’s a difficult task to find out responsibly and ethically, but we’re going to try. We’ve also reached out to the FBI for more information.

Update: an internal email sent to employees from CEO Richard Plepler says that the company believes emails were not in fact accessed:

As promised, I wanted to update you on our recent cyber incident and where we currently stand. There has been and will continue to be an enormous amount of speculation in the media. It is important to understand that, as is often the case, things you read may very well not be true.

Many people have expressed particular concern about our e-mail system. At this time, we do not believe that our e-mail system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing. We are also in the process of engaging an outside firm to work with our employees to provide credit monitoring and we will be following up with those details.

Meantime, continue to do the excellent work which defines this company across all departments and know that the appropriate teams are working round the clock to manage our way through this difficult period.

Richard

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