HBO Suffers from Cyber Attacks: Game of Thrones Spoilers

The first episode of the 7th season of Game of Thrones, a series produced by HBO, released this July on the 16th garnered a ground breaking number of 16.1 million viewers from all over the world. With that large a viewership, it is no surprise that HBO fell prey to a cyber-attack on 31st of July which has compromised not only a script of episode four of Game of Thrones, but also an upcoming episode of Ballers and Room 104 which have apparently been uploaded online, however there is no proof yet that the script has been compromised.

What is the point of hacking HBO to release videos, scripts and episodes before they are premiered? It of course, causes damage to a company by stealing the source of its income which in this case is the episodes of two popular shows and script of a highly viewed, record breaking show. However, that alone is not the reason behind these hacks. The videos themselves, as well as the script, are valuable as they contain content that the masses want to know about and share. Game of Thrones is one of the most popular talking points across the globe as fans speculate about and discuss the future of the show. By piggybacking on the popularity of the TV show it helps to draw attention to the hack itself and consequently the hacker.

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There have been cyber-attacks previously on entertainment providers in the past few years. Beginning in 2014, when Sony was hacked in response to the film The Interview, it led to Disney being pursued over a purported early copy of a Pirates of the Caribbean film in 2015 and then earlier this year a hacker claimed to have leaked episodes of Orange Is The New Black before they were made available on Netflix which has now led to the hacking of HBO. Sony in 2014 had about 100 terabytes stolen by the hackers while only 1.5 terabytes have been stolen from HBO.

There are a number of ways that can help industries, small business and others can save their data and prevent another attack, but it must be understood that this is a continuous process which never stops.

In security, there’s a general belief we all have – it’s not whether or not you will be breached or attacked, it’s a matter of when,” says Haiyan Song, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Splunk, a cyber-security company, which is why it is recommended to take a multi-faceted approach against hacking.

Amongst other strategies, staff training and updating software is the key technique to keep hackers at bay as stated in a CNBC article. Small businesses need to understand that they are not safe from hackers because they think they are “the small guy” said by Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, an internet security consultant business, and the former vice president of internet enforcement at the Motion Picture Association of America. They need the security as much as the big businesses do as compared to the other bigger businesses these small ones are an easier target and they sadly get attacked more which often leads to them being unable to recover their data as the price the hackers set is far more than they can pay.

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With an increase in the dependency to store and handle most of the data and the growth of the businesses there is a dire need to educate staff, advisors and technology department heads about the risks and methods that hackers may use to prevent a breach effectively. There needs to be a proper back to fight against these digital predators regardless of whether it is a small business or a large one, private or government. The sophistication and frequency of the cyber-attack attempts that firms have seen continues to grow and will continue to grow if serious, continuous efforts are not made.