HBO Cyberattack Driven By Mysterious Motives

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Time Warner’s pay-TV community HBO on Wednesday admitted that it had been focused by a cyberattack, confirming an nameless e mail the alleged hackers distributed to media retailers final weekend.

Among the many content material that will have been compromised had been upcoming episodes of the sequence Ballers, Barry and Room 104, together with script outlines of the channel’s hit present Video games of Thrones.

In complete, the hackers might have obtained 1.5 TB of inside firm paperwork. Nevertheless, they apparently didn’t entry any precise episodes of Recreation of Thrones, and no upcoming episodes have appeared on-line.

Among the hacked content material was listed in a Reddit stock that since has been deleted.

HBO rapidly downplayed the assault. It was unlikely that the cable firm’s e mail system had been compromised, CEO Richard Plepler stated in an e mail to workers.

Not Simply HBO

This isn’t the primary such assault to victimize a media firm. Hackers earlier this yr obtained episodes from the then-upcoming season 5 of the Netflix sequence Orange is the New Black and threatened to launch the content material until a ransom was paid.

Netflix refused to pay up, nonetheless, and accepted that some episodes had been leaked on-line.

Sony stays the largest Hollywood hack sufferer, a title thrust upon it late in 2014, when roughly 100 TB of knowledge was uploaded to the Web. It included worker emails, private monetary knowledge and a few movie content material.

The Sony hack purportedly was carried out by hackers engaged on behalf of North Korea in response to the studio’s then new movie The Interview, which provided a satirical look into the so-called Hermit Kingdom.

The widespread denominator in these hacks is that the businesses concerned all have been coy concerning the quantity of data they had been prepared to share.

“As with many such issues, in all probability the main points which might be public at this time inform solely a small a part of the story,” stated Jim Purtilo, affiliate professor within the pc science division on the College of Maryland.

“Corporations have each incentive to stay as terse as attainable since they’re their legal responsibility, company branding general, and naturally their want to not join too many dots for intruders who won’t absolutely recognize what they ripped,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

“I’ve not but offhand heard a lot on the intrusion mechanism,” Purtilo added. “We gained’t know a cause till some arrest can be made, however at this level I’d presume this was simply one other goal of alternative.”

Hacking for Enjoyable or Revenue

Though the motive behind HBO assault is unclear, it doesn’t appear to be monetary achieve.

“At first look, the HBO hack has the look of a smash-and-grab occasion, the place intruders took what seemed attention-grabbing and beneficial, and vamoosed,” stated Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Although hyperlinks to a pair of Recreation of Thrones episodes have cropped up, the stolen knowledge primarily consisted of firm paperwork, together with worker emails, personnel information and scripts of some unaired HBO exhibits,” he advised TechNewsworld.

The motive may very well be comparatively mundane.

“It’s important to perceive that the explanations hackers assault sure websites range drastically,” famous Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Analysis.

“Hackers are sometimes similar to mountain climbers — they do it simply because it’s there and it’s a problem,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

“I might suspect that it’s doubtless pushed simply to get entry to HBO content material,” McGregor stated, “however with the quantity of data taken, they might have gotten far more, together with buyer knowledge and HBO inside paperwork.”

Progress Alternative

Given the truth that content material is so costly to supply, and that it routinely is pirated, it’s questionable whether or not future hackers will take into account it beneficial sufficient to take advantage of..

“Hacking can be a enterprise mannequin the place the data taken is held for ransom,” McGregor identified.

“Regardless of the cause, no firm is basically off limits at this time,” he stated, “however the larger and extra outstanding you’re, the larger goal you grow to be for a greater variety of hackers.”

Given the rising quantity of unique content material from HBO, in addition to its opponents corresponding to Netflix and Amazon, this occasion may sign an escalation of assaults towards unbiased leisure distributors and platforms, Pund-IT’s King warned.

Assaults might not have monetary drivers — they may very well be politically or socially motivated.

That stated, “HBO’s hackers look like unmotivated by political or different elementary points,” King urged.

“That makes the occasion fairly completely different than the 2014 Sony hack executed by the ‘Guardians of Peace,’ who had been later identifiedas North Korea-supported hackers who had been retaliating towards Sony’s movie, The Interview, which parodied North Korea’s chief, Kim Jong-un,” stated King.

“Until HBO’s hackers launch extra damaging or controversial knowledge, or are aided by Wikileaks, this occasion is prone to be much less disruptive than the Sony hack,” he noticed. “That stated, it ought to nonetheless encourage Netflix, Amazon and others within the leisure and movie industries to look at and shore up their community safety — or be the following in line to be hacker targets.”

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