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The entertainment industry has not had the best luck in recent years when it comes to leak-spreading cyber attacks, and HBO is the latest juggernaut to face the wrath of an online hacker. As confirmed by the network, HBO was hit over the weekend by a currently anonymous hacker, or hacking group, and the large chunk of data that was stolen apparently included episodes of HBO's currently airing series, as well some super-spoilery data about Game of Thrones
HBO isn't making any clear confirmations on what was specifically included in the data breach, but according to EW, the hackers claim to have taken control of around 1.5 terabytes of data. Those files apparently include one upcoming episode of the Rock's Ballers, which just kicked off its third season last weekend, as well as a future episode of the Duplass brothers' bizarro anthology series Room 104, which just debuted its first episode on Friday night. THR reports that a script for Game of Thrones' next episode, titled "The Spoils of War," is also part of the stolen property. And, as one might imagine, the hackers threatened that more leaks are on the way.
HBO employees learned of the cyber attack via an in-house email from CEO Richard Pleper, who called the hack "disruptive, unsettling and disturbing for all of us," but admitted the situation is "all too familiar" in modern society. It's currently unclear what else, if anything, will be released in the future, but emails sent out by the hackers sell the breach as being extremely huge and noteworthy, which implies bigger leaks are on the way.
HBO suffered as big a data leak as it ever faced for Game of Thrones Season 5, when the first four episodes of the season were put online ahead of the premiere. That wasn't so much about the company's tech getting hacked as much as it was someone copying and uploading the episodes from press screeners, and HBO perhaps wisely ceased offering personal screeners after that. The ratings were still stellar, despite the leaks, and they've gotten bigger each year, even though there's similar expansive growth in the number of times the episodes are being pirated online.
Obviously having Ballers and Room 104 episodes leaked is a kick in the crotch to HBO execs, but nothing would be more frustrating for all involved than for anything involving Game of Thrones to go public before it's meant to. (Even when it's actually the fault of someone within HBO itself.) Few shows on TV strive for the same amount of secrecy as the fantasy epic, and the clamps have only gotten tighter with the final two seasons. At this point in Game of Thrones' shortened seventh season run, even just a single page from an upcoming episode's script could be detrimental to the show's secrets remaining locked up, so if there is indeed a legit copy of an entire episode out there, fans would be wise to just stay offline for the next week.
It's unclear how leaked episodes from hacks -- such as the Orange is the New Black situation earlier this year -- taint viewership numbers, and we hopefully won't have to worry about how the HBO behemoth will be affected. Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 p.m. ET, with Ballers airing at 10:00 p.m. ET, just after GoT fans have had their minds blown by the final scene. Room 104 airs Friday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET. To see everything else that's hitting the small screen soon, check out our summer TV schedule and our fall premiere schedule.