HBO HACK BEHIND GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7 SCRIPT LEAK IS A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME, WARN CYBER SECURITY EXPERTS

HBO HACK BEHIND GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7 SCRIPT LEAK IS A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME, WARN CYBER SECURITY EXPERTS

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People watch the seventh season premiere of US TV show “Game of Thrones” at the Mayakovskaya metro station in Moscow early on July 18, 2017 / VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Stealing high-profile films and TV shows has become an easy way of generating publicity

A leaked Game of Thrones script appears set to show what’s going to happen next week. But the the hack that allowed it to be leaked in the first place could show what’s going to happen in the coming years.

HBO has confirmed that it has been hacked and had a range of important files stolen, which appears to include upcoming TV shows as well as the script. A spokesperson did not confirm which programmes were taken, but a statement from HBO’s chief executive confirmed that the hackers had stolen “proprietary information”.

In all, the hackers claim to have taken 1.5 terabytes of information from HBO, and is hoping that the cache will bring it attention. The group sent an email to reporters offering an interview to anyone who “spread the word” about the cyber attack.

And that could be a clue to why the hackers stole the information in the first place. Films and TV shows – and the companies that own them – are becoming one of the most high-profile hacking targets in the world, and so are likely to continue leaking online.

That is a relatively new phenomenon, according to David Emm, Kaspersky Lab’s principal security researcher. At first, and throughout the 90s and early 2000s, most hackers were intent primarily on vandalism rather than making money, but with time it became clear that cyber attacks could bring with them serious money.

As people become more dependent on technology and connectivity in both their working and personal lives, there becomes more of an incentive and reason to hack them. And that brought with them a range of people in addition to the traditional petty criminals, such as people who want hold others to ransom, cause damage to people’s reputations or identify the flaws in a certain system so that they will be fixed, says Mr Emm.

The value of such a hack is entirely dependent on how much attention it can bring. If a cyber attacker broke into a normal, not especially interesting company and stole some of its intellectual property, then it’s unlikely that people care; hacking into HBO and stealing Game of Thrones piggybacks on one of the most active talking points in the world.