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Hackers hit HBO, warn they’ll release Game of Thrones content

“HBO is falling,” hackers warn.

Cersei sits on the Iron Throne in an episode of Game of Thrones.
Hackers claim to have acquired a large amount of HBO content, including material from season seven of Game of Thrones.

The sanctity of Game of Thrones’ seven kingdoms is under attack by a new force that goes far beyond the White Walkers and Cersei Lannister. Entertainment Weekly reports that hackers claim to have acquired 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO in a recent cyberattack against the network, and have already released unaired episodes of Ballers and Room 104 online.

But the most devastating revelation centers on HBO’s marquee series. An alleged script for the upcoming fourth episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season has allegedly leaked, via a cryptic and oddly worded email that the hackers anonymously sent to several different reporters.

Per EW, the email read:

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.

HBO has confirmed that a cyberattack took place, both to EW and in internal statements obtained by the news outlet. “The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of,” HBO Chair and CEO Richard Plepler wrote in an email to employees.

The network has not commented on what specific content the hackers may have acquired. But this incident fits a pattern that seems to be part of a growing trend in Hollywood.

Back in April, Netflix was hacked, and episodes of Orange Is the New Black season five were released online prior to its debut. A hacking group called the Dark Overlord claimed responsibility for that hack and said that they had also acquired not only more Netflix programming but also content from ABC and Fox. They subsequently leaked eight episodes of Steve Harvey’s Funderdome in June ahead of its premiere.

As the Verge has noted, Game of Thrones leaks are something that HBO has battled previously, though not necessarily because of hacking. In 2015, the first four episodes of season five were leaked online prior to the season premiere. In 2016, HBO Nordic accidentally released an episode of season six one day early.

There are four remaining episodes in Game of Thrones seventh season, which airs its finale on August 27. Whether the details of those episodes will stay under wraps until they air remains an open question.

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