FBI Investigates Cyberattack on HBO
The data breach is seven times bigger than Sony's hack
HBO is still reeling from a sophisticated cyberattack that potentially compromised seven times the amount of data stolen in the Sony hack.
On July 27, Richard Plepler, HBO’s CEO, learned that the company’s network had been breached by what appeared to be a coordinated cyberattack. Experts suspect it could expose a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data, reports Hollywood Reporter.
The attack targeted specific content and data housed in multiple different locations, suggesting multiple points of entry. There was no ransom demanded, which leaves the motive in question. Video footage, internal documents or even email correspondences could be leaked.
HBO sent an email two days later to its over 2,500 employees, notifying them about the attack, and warning them not to open any suspicious emails. Hackers going by the name little.finger66 boasted to the media about pulling off “the greatest leak of cyber space era” [sic].
They then provided a link to a script for an Aug. 6 episode of Game of Thrones and unaired episodes of Ballers and Room 104 began surfacing online.
For context: the entire Library of Congress is estimated to contain 10 terabytes of print content.
“At 1.5 terabytes, it could be a whole block of TV, or worse, it could be emails, financial documents, employee or customer information,” said Erik Rasmussen, a former deputy prosecuting attorney and special agent with the Secret Service who now works at the cybersecurity firm Kroll, to Hollywood Reporter.
Sources say HBO is working with the FBI and cybersecurity firm Mandiant. They both declined to comment to the Hollywood Reporter.
At least six studios and talent agencies in Hollywood have been hit with extortion attempts in the past year, including Netflix. Netflix refused to listen to ransom demands, and the collective known as TheDarkOverlord released 10 episodes of Netflix’s hit show Orange is the New Black before its June release.
But Hollywood Reporter says that privately, security experts say the HBO hack appears to be more vicious. However, Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor of online crime and onetime chief security officer of News Corp, said that how HBO responded was one of the best examples of how to react to a criss and communicate with your employees.
“I’ve never seen it happen this fast,” he said to Hollywood Reporter. Plepler called for employees to be notified before news of the hack even broke.
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