Game of Thrones, Hollywood Remain Vulnerable to Cyberthreats


Another cyberattack has surfaced, providing more evidence of the high risks that companies face with cyber intrusions. This time the victim was HBO, home of the popular series Game of Thrones. HBO released a statement, saying it has experienced a breach compromising some of its programming and has already begun working with law enforcement and independent cybersecurity experts to investigate the intrusion. An email from the hackers responsible for the incident was sent to multiple media outlets, claiming they have stolen and leaked a considerable amount of HBO data onto the Web, including a script for an unreleased episode of Game of Thrones, as well as full episodes of other HBO shows Ballers, Insecure, and Room 104. The hackers have also warned that there’s more to come. HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler expressed dismay in a memo to employees, saying “the problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of.” He assured employees that they were doing everything they can to protect their “collective interests.” Plepler and HBO itself are not new to cyberattacks. In 2015, the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 were leaked to file-sharing sites a day before the first one aired, according to the LA Times.

The entertainment industry is a huge target for hackers seeking attention because of how much of the public is immersed in television programs and motion pictures like HBO’s Game of Thrones. Some of the targets in the past have included Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. Episodes from the next season were uploaded after the Netflix refused to pay a ransom. North Korea was also blamed for a 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment after release of its new film The Interview, about a fictional assignation plot on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

As well as being a big target for cyberattacks, entertainment conglomerates also have the biggest risk for their data. Subcontracting organizations are often employed to assist in other production services, ranging from special effects specialists and marketing firms. “Systems are highly dispersed,” stated Clifford Neuman, director of the Center for Computer Systems Security at the University of Southern California. “There is a lot of moving data all across the system and it makes it more difficult to secure.” The high vulnerability of companies in the entertainment industry makes it extremely important that they invest in cybersecurity, such as risk assessment products and cyber insurances. These organizations are also encouraged to enroll employees in cybersecurity training so they are aware of safe practices for communicating sensitive data.

Game of Thrones photo courtesty of Stock image courtesty of