Hackers Make Good on Threat to Leak HBO Programs

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When the news broke that hackers had broke into servers ranging from Disney to Netflix to HBO, they promised that over time they would be releasing episodes and cuts of films on the internet to any studio that refused to pay up. Some, like Disney, called their bluff and  found out it was nothing but bluster, but others, like Netflix, saw episodes of Orange is the New Black hit the net before they were ready. Now HBO is in the hackers sites, and new episodes of original series like Curb Your Enthusiasm are in jeopardy.

“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information,” the networks said. “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.”

The hack is believed to be extensive. Including releasing episodes of the Larry David comedy, there are expected to be other series, including the Dwayne Johnson comedy Ballers, Insecure, Barry, and Room 104, that are in danger of being released online as well. Ballers was leaked, as was Insecure, and two episodes of Barry, that won’t come out until next year.

Additionally, Hackers have gained access to thousands of internal company memos and documents on the pay service’s operations. All told, Hackers have bragged to have stolen a total of 1.5 terabytes of data from the network and are threatening to release more information if HBO doesn’t pay up, including personal data on a senior HBO executive. The information was made known to the public after HBO engaged the services of take down company IP Echelon, which had issued take down notices to Google and other services in an effort to blot the releases from cyberspace.

“Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold,” the company said in a statement.

But HBO is taking the same tack as Disney, refusing in public to play ball. ”We are not in communication with the hacker and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released,” the network said in a statement. “It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO. The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.”

Only the difference is, that Disney called the bluff and the hackers had nothing. But with HBO, they’re faced with what could be an unending hemorrhaging of episodes, and perhaps a pivotal script for the current episode of Game of Thrones.  So while Disney managed to dodge the proverbial bullet, HBO is faced with one leak after another. But at the end of the day, it may not have that much of an impact.

According to industry analysts, Netflix didn’t suffer a lot from the release of episodes of Orange is the New Black simply because there isn’t enough traffic on Bit Torrent to cause problems. “Are some people going to torrent it? They are,” says streaming media analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan. “But at the same time, a lot of people really don’t want to do that. If you’re really into a show, and you have a 50- or 70-inch TV, you’re going to want to watch it on that.”

So sure, a percentage of users may go to The Pirate Bay to get the latest episode of Ballers, but HBO is counting on the fact that those people aren’t subscribing anyway.

Hat Tip – Variety

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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