If an email with the subject header of “1.5 TB of HBO data just leaked!!!” landed in your inbox, you would be wondering that what the hell is wrong with your spam folder. But unfortunately, neither the title, not the content was spam, there was another HBO hack and a huge amount of data was leaked from HBO and in no universe, is this a good thing.

The exact details of the attack are not out in the open, what we do know is that the hackers gained access to at least one episode of “Ballers” and “Room 104” each plus the script for next week’s “Game of Thrones”. And that’s just what they have released. There might be more.

This HBO hack has not made them tuck their tail between its legs but has faced the leak head on. The CEO said in an email to its employees ““There has been a cyber incident directed at the company which has resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming,”

Now, this is not the first time that a massive media company like HBO has been hacked. Earlier this year Netflix was hacked, releasing a few episodes of Orange is the new black. Even HBO was hacked last year when the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 were leaked on the torrent-web.

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But the biggest hack till date was the infamous Sony hack all the way back in 2014 when a North Korean group called Guardians of Peace hacked the Sony Pictures database as they wanted to pull down the movie “The Interview” as it portrayed North Korea and their leader in a bad light.

They released personal information about Sony Pictures employees and their families, emails between employees, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of then-unreleased Sony films, and other information.

But one thing to note is that in the Sony hack, 100+ TB of data was stolen but here, that figure is only 1.5. Although, this time the hacker says that he has hacked the HBO itself and not a third party which had the footage.

In an email to WIRED magazine, the hacker by the name of “Mr. Smith” who has claimed responsibility said that “We successfully penetrated HBO’s huge network and gathered most important [sic] files and films & scripts and so on,”

They promised both full episodes of Game of Thrones and upcoming feature films (presumably HBO originals). The hacker also claimed to have “obtained a lot [sic] about HBO’s staff and internal stuff.”

I want you to pay attention to the last line. The hacker has personal information of HBO employees. The confidential data that every company so covets and protect is now out in the open or in the hands of a malicious individual.

This is a scary situation, it’s not about the footage that is being leaked but the personal information of people. The company, because of its shoddy security measures has put the vital information of the employees at risk.

Studios today are neither aware nor do they practice proper cyber security measures, thus leading to the leaks. If hundreds of terabytes of data can be siphoned off of the servers of a massive studio, then what is to prevent them from going after smaller studios.

A studio with the financial resource of Sony can take such a hit its stride. But that’s not the case with small studios as they will have to surrender to the demands or face closure.

This lack of proper security is fundamentally dangerous and needs to be fixed ASAP. Improving it will not only put the private details of the employees in a safe box but it also prevents the spread of illegal piracy.

But then again, they might deliberately pull such stunts to get people talking about the show. And more often than not, the windfall that succeeds the show is more than enough to cover the losses.

People would actually love if these big-budget blockbusters would just keep on leaking, after all, they’re getting all that content for free. But what they don’t realise is that it kills innovation.

The trickle down effect of events such as this HBO hack hurts smaller studios, there is always a risk of a hacker mafia extorting and killing these small studios and even big studios targeting smaller ones.

But well, that’s my opinion. If you agree or disagree with either one of these takes, feel free to reach out.

Image Credits: Google Images

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