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Further Investigation Into HBO Hack Reveals The Full Scope Of The Security Breach

hbo cyber hacked

The hack against HBO seems to have included far more than just a few episodes of the network’s television offerings and a future script from Game Of Thrones. According to Variety, the perpetrators behind the cyber intrusion also reportedly got their hands on “thousands of internal company documents” and removed “masses of copyrighted items including documents, images, videos and sound” inside HBO’s network infrastructure as part of the reported 1.5 terabytes of stolen data.

Part of this includes personal details of a senior HBO executive and possible access to their work email, adding more wrinkles to the trouble according to Variety:

That information, published online in a text document, contains access information to dozens of online accounts, including paid newspaper subscriptions, online banking, and personal health services. At least one of these accounts may also have given the hackers access to the executive’s work email.

The perpetrators of the hack have claimed that they were able to access some of HBO’s key network infrastructure, and steal a total of 1.5 terabyte of data, and have suggested that they will release additional information in the near future. An image file published as part of the leaks seems to corroborate at least the first part of that claim, as it appears to show screenshots of HBO’s internal administration tools, listing employee names and email addresses and their functions within the organization.

Variety compares the level of this hack to the one that affected Sony in 2014, thought to be executed by the Lazarus Group on behalf of North Korea. There is no indication who is behind this latest hack, but the details are coming together with the threat of more data being released in the near future.

This revelation comes due to several DMCA requests made by the security firm IP Echelon to Google on behalf of HBO, seeking the removal of items related to the hack from the search engine. The take-down requests revealed just how extensive the hack was on the company and the network is being proactive against the hack, already working alongside the FBI to investigate the hack and determine the culprits according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The contents of the stolen data is currently up for speculation according to THR, with some pointing out the massive size of the alleged haul and how it compares to other hacks around Hollywood:

Sources say HBO is working with the FBI and cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which led the forensic investigation on the Sony hack (ironically, Mandiant also was targeted by hackers around the same time as the HBO breach). The FBI and Mandiant declined comment, and HBO wouldn’t elaborate beyond a statement acknowledging the hack…

“At 1.5 terabytes, it could be a whole block of TV, or worse, it could be emails, financial documents, employee or customer information,” says Erik Rasmussen, a former deputy prosecuting attorney and special agent with the Secret Service who now works at the cybersecurity firm Kroll. “The fact that you have law enforcement and a [cybersecurity] firm involved most likely means this will be a very large incident for HBO.”

For comparisons, THR notes that the Sony hack revolved around 200 gigabytes of data that was released by hackers, making the HBO possibly seven times that size. This would all indicate that the full scale of this leak has not yet been seen and most certainly contains more than just a few scripts from the network’s marquee shows. According to CNN, HBO does not feel their entire email network as a whole was affected by the hack and there has been no ransom demand for the stolen data.

 

 

 

 

By Andrew Roberts

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