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Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones has leaked online

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

HBO has been trying to plug up leak after leak surrounding Game of Thrones this season, but the latest leak is the most dramatic. Earlier this morning, a watermarked copy of episode four of the series’ seventh season — scheduled to air this Sunday — appeared online and was rapidly shared around on Reddit.

Unlike earlier leaks involving a Game of Thrones script and episodes of Ballers and Room 104, this one doesn’t appear to be the result of a reportedly massive recent cyberattack on the network. Instead, the Verge reports that the new episode found its way to the internet via HBO distribution partner Star India.

“We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause,” Star India said in a statement. “This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.”

In the meantime, the purported representative of the hackers targeting HBO — who signed himself “Kind Mr. Smith” in his most recent email and claims to have pilfered 1.5 terabytes of data from the network, including Game of Thrones scripts and episode outlines — is continuing to send out ever more grandiose and threatening emails.

“Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening,” began the first email sent to reporters last Thursday, before concluding, “HBO is falling.”

Yesterday, Kind Mr. Smith reportedly sent out a fresh email to the Hollywood Reporter. “It's just about money,” the message states, implying the intent to release a large swath of the company’s emails, a threat that evokes the 2014 Sony hack that resulted in the release of thousands of the company’s internal emails and legal documents. “We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us...So we have one option....Wait till Sunday. HBO is Falling..........."