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2017 HBO Hack refers to cybersecurity breach of the HBO television network servers, in which nefarious cyber actors stole numerous files that included private emails, home addresses and phone numbers of network stars, unreleased episodes, spoiler-heavy scripts and information regarding some of the network's most popular shows.
On July 31st, 2017, Entertainment Weekly reported that there had been a security breach in HBO's network servers. Hackers obtained 1.5 terabytes of information, stealing and leaking episodes of the series Ballers and Room 104 and a script for an upcoming episode of Game of Thrones, the network's flagship series. The network released a statement after the breach. It said:
"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 cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold."
On the night of July 30th, the hackers claiming responsibility for the breach wrote in an email to reporters:
"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."
Shortly after the breach was confirmed by HBO, HBO CEO Richard Plepler wrote a memo to employees. He said:
"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. 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."
The following week, on August 7th, the hackers leaked a month's worth of internal emails from HBO executives and marketing materials regarding Game of Thrones, further escalating the severity of the hack. HBO, however, followed this latest development by stating that their email system "as a whole" had not been compromised.
"HBO believed that further leaks might emerge from this cyber incident when we confirmed it last week. As we said, the forensic review is ongoing. While it has been reported that a number of emails have been made public, the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our e-mail system as a whole has been compromised. We continue to work around the clock with outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident. Meanwhile, our dedicated employees continue to focus on delivering the high quality of entertainment and service for which we are known."
The publicly available link also gave people access to internal documents and plot synopses for an upcoming Game of Thrones episode. Additionally, the hackers emailed Plepler a video eplaining their intentionsf. The email said, "We successfully breached into your huge network. … HBO was one of our difficult targets to deal with but we succeeded (it took about 6 months)."
Mashable obtained a photo of the file systems that were hacked, which included folders entitled "UNTITLED MIKE JUDGE" and "CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (season 9)," among others. Additionally, within the leaked documents were addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of numerous Game of Thrones stars, including Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clarke. In the ransom note, the hackers demand $7.5 million to stop the leaks.
The company also received a video regarding the demands of the hackers, which Mashable posted (shown below).
"Dear Richard Plepler;
I am Mr. Smith and I have the honor to inform you, on behalf of my colleagues, that we successfully breached into your huge network.
We are glad to say that in a complicated cyber operation, infiltration to your network accomplished and we obtained most valuable informations. (1.5 Terabyte)
We confess that HBO was one of our difficult targets to deal with but we succeeded. (It took about 6 months).
By penetrating your Internal Network and other related platforms, we obtained your highly confidential Documents, IT related data, Scripts and etc. these data dump, as you will see, contains HBO's Various Contracts, Mutual Agreements, Human resources, internal structure, International affiliates, Business strategies, international Marketing, IT infrastructures, producing films & Series (with very detail info!), budget detail for major operations, how you sell and how much!, various strategic insights in every aspects, confidential research, internal letters & Tax Evading Proofs! & Nielsen's Dirty Job! & etc.
Also, we obtained full scripts and cast list of your (and our) very popular TV series; Game of thrones S7.
You concealed GOT7 very carefully so we can't find it due to lack of time although we are so close. Instead, we produced some tiny mini-series of GOT 7 for you which be able to shock the entire world!!!
What we got from GOT 7 not only put an end to fate of this season but also corrupts your idea and efforts to season 8.
Don't hesitate to search, we obtained enormous amount of Full scripts and full length films and series which will be broadcast in upcoming months! We put our logo "HBP Is Falling" on all of them for future possible release !!! We are hackers for accept our apology for amateur mixing!
Now, we have your precious data which costs you millions of dollars: Insecure2, The Deuce S1, Barry S1, Room 104 S1, Ballers S3, Vice Principals S2, Steven Spielberg Documentary, A world in disarray, Tour de Pharmacy, Deffiant Ones and etc.
We noticed that HBO seriously keeps its work products, Inventions, raw materials and etc by various security measures and confidentiality, so it's obvious for us (and you), by revealing such data what will confront your empire.
Leakage will be your worst nightmare; your competitors will know about your current & future strategies, your inner circle inside HBO & senior staff will be thrown into chaos, your views specially fans became very upset and they blame you rather than us!, downfall in stocks will be predictable and so on. As you are in the business from decades, you yourselves will be full aware of catastrophic consequences …. So make a wise decision!
HBO is pioneering in TV programming worldwide and doesn't want to lose this situation. More than that, HBO is promoting democracy, women rights, freedom and justice in the world and losing this leadership will be painful and catastrophic.
We are your fans as are many other ordinary people. We know that HBO walked a long way to reach current situation. By Analyzing Vivienne Eisenberg's profile, we noticed how difficulty way you go to be the first in the market…. Our motives isn't political nor financial. (Even we hate trump like other Americans do) Its like a game for us, we enjoy to get data. Money isn't our main purpose.
(my colleagues argue with me about details given to you and length of this letter, but as there will be very few emails between us, I must assure you about what we have, what will be confronting you and what should be paid to settle down everything!!)
We honestly share what we got with you and frankly bring you our demand. We are whitehat hackers and it's very shameful if you compare us with some noisy & amateur blackhat ones like Darkoverload. You will see in future steps in our operations that we fulfill any promises made and any given word.
We don't want to endanger HBO's situation nor causing to lose its reputation. We want to be your partner in a tiny part of HBO's huge income.
HBO is an important part of Time Warner's vast array of networks and productions businesses and your estimated annual sale in 662 million dollars in one fiscal year. As all of us know "Very well", This number is official crap and some-how wrong. By analyzing your financial records, we see billions rather that millions, may be some tax evading proofs, so what? It doesn't matter, we want only XXXX dollars. In your opinion, is this a greedy number for saving your 1.5 Tb Confidential data from being released?
HBO spends nearly 100 million to produce GOT6 and spends lots of money for series like Insecure, Ballers, The Deuce, Barry, Room 104 and …. . Now we have final scripts and final video files of them. HBO spends 12 million in 2017 for Market Research and 5 million for GOT7 advertisements. So consider us another budget for your advertisements!
Our demand is clear and Non-Negotiable: we want XXXX dollars to stop leaking your Data.
I know (as witnessed in our other operations) that a greedy CEO or an Idiot one who doesn't understand the new era of cyberspace or a fucking, Full of Pride, FBI fat-ass agent, tells you Don't pay them, How trust them? What if they release the data even they have been paid? By paying money, you keep them in the circle!
The answer is simple: we are white-Hat. You must trust us. The HBO is our 17th Target. Only 3 of our past targets refused to pay and were punished very badly and 2 of them collapse entirely.
How are you able to stop a group like us that spends about 400-500,000 dollars in a year to buy 0days exploits? We often launch two major operations in a year and our annual income is about 12-15 million dollars. We are serious enough to do our business, the main questions is this: How much is your seriousness to keep your empire on its feet in a NEW BRAVE WORLD?
Don't call us nasty Hackers, we are IT professionals, consider what is done to you as a huge pentest.
For building mutual trust and confidence, we send you, our entire arsenal! (Except on package for ;last possible Leak which surprises not only you but entire world!). We don't play with you so, you in return, don't play with us. You only have 3 days to make decision so decide wisely.
You pay our 6 month salary to bitcoin and we get away form your map. As we witnesses in other cases, Fucking FBI or other police enforcements, teach you couple of outdated trick to play with us and buy time. It doesn't work with us.
We set a time line for you in 7 weeks of GOT 7 and you pay the money in the way we say. I repeat again, don't play with us, its only your decades of dignity and heavy efforts that will be played with.
If you pay, both of us will be glad, and every one goes to his work. If NO, then we are still happy, we release the entire collection and set an example of Idiot and old-fashioned collapsing player in the field for our future targets. So you will be the loser and we are still in the field!
You must understand that we are in the new world. You cannot ignore players like us. HBO must adopt itself with new circumstances. Doing so, set you straight forward and Lucky. by ignoring this new era, the first victims will be your reputation and your empire.
There are several disputes between by colleagues about your possible reactions. It's like betting. Some of them (by analyzing some of your CEO and their attitudes) tell me that you don't pay. I and some others, being optimistic, will count on your true & wise decision. It's up to you!
Some final quotes:
* First of all declare your surrender! We only communicate with Richard. Send an email and declare it frankly that you accept our terms.
* You have 3 days for analyzing the data and the damages it brought and etc. its natural. Forget about 4th date for negotiate. In 4th day, we begin to release….
* Do the bitcoin job quick. Some banks in USA have problems in exchanging bitcoin and caused trouble in past. We don't accept sentences like: we want to pay but banks are lazy and don't cooperate. Its your problem. Give some bucks, they do like slaves.
* Look at below chart every often. It is leakage schedule. We are man of our words. If you like, try us. We release what be declared as written in chart.
* We know a lot about your promoting strategies for your series and other stuff. Thanks to your endless efforts in this field, our leakage will be very time consuming and step by step. We will use your communicating ways to spread the content to entire world. For example your huge list of journalists who promote you, will be the ones that spread our words. Nice try like Zoe Barnes in House of Cards! Some of them ambitious and like to go upward so spreads well!
* We want a clean operation, if any word got to press or others, then we consider it as breach of contract and despite our chart (step-by-step leakage) we release the entire data at once.
* Don't go to FBI or other fucking IT Idiots. They are so busy or shoe makers! If you have strong enough IT infrastructures, we can't get your data. In this situation, It's worthless for begging security from them. We are far enough to catch (Catch me If you can!). This is your empire that is shaking and collapsing. I know that you don't listen to this advice, its natural. But remember, by confronting any danger, we ignore the chart and release the data at once.
* We will write only 1 extra letter for declaring bitcoin transfers. There will be no "Tom & Jerry" game!
* There are 2 mottos. Which one is remembered?
Winter is Coming -- HBO is Falling
Winter is Coming -- HBO is standing & Everlasting !
As Architect said in Matrix II: "the problem is choice!"
Good luck to HBO"
 Entertainment Weekly – HBO hacked: Upcoming episodes, Game of Thrones data leaked online
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