HBO Hacks: Game of Thrones Leaks, Curb Your Enthusiasm & More

Joel Tope

Joel Tope

September 4, 2017

A new bombshell is always exploding in the land of Essos, but the latest scandalous revelation has little to do with the premature death of your favorite Game of Thrones characters (or Ed Sheeran). Winter came for HBO – it was successfully hacked by an unknown attacker. Not only was the script of episode four of the latest Game of Thrones season stolen, but episodes of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm were also taken and released before their legitimate air date.

Pirated and leaked copies of Game of Thrones are so ubiquitous on the internet that fans don’t even need an HBO account to view the program. Hordes of websites host or link to the latest episode, making it a simple matter for fans to stream the latest plot developments in The Song of Ice and Fire. Nevertheless, legitimate HBO and HBO Go users may be restricted due to geographic content censorship and licensing limitations, making a Virtual Private Network (VPN) necessary to stream the show.

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The Hacker’s Ransom

Hungry fans can often view the most recent leaks on Reddit threads, though unless you’re caught up with the latest episode, it is advisable to refrain from browsing Reddit. The night is dark and full of terrors, and Reddit is rife with leaks and full of spoilers. The recent hack, however, that released the script to Game of Thrones episode four, seemed to be a colossal achievement by a sophisticated individual.

The unknown hacker’s pseudonym was simply Mr. Smith. Not only did Mr. Smith boast about stealing some 1.5 terabytes of highly anticipated show footage and sensitive data, but he/she even attempted to hold that data for a $6 million ransom. Furthermore, it was later reported that the stolen data included private emails belonging to an HBO executive, and other internal HBO data relating to employees’ identities and employment information.

More concerning, however, was a message from the hacker sent to Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO. In the video, Mr. Smith bragged about how the HBO network had been successfully compromised, and that it had taken six months of work. However, despite a leaked script and an episode that appeared a few days early, the hack didn’t really create the financial turmoil associated with most successful hacks against high value targets.

Game of Thrones Season 7 & Other Related Leaks

It should come as no surprise that Game of Thrones and HBO have been the targets of data theft. The show is incredibly popular to say the least. Fans around the world heavily scrutinize every scrap of information, image and rumor they can get their hands on. In fact, the Game of Thrones premiere was the most pirated show of 2017. As such, there have been numerous leaks of actual footage, and entire episodes have been made available on websites like Couch Tuner long before the planned air date.

Unrelated to the hacking incident that caused the script of episode four to be released to public, season seven episode six was also released ahead of schedule. Due to an embarrassingly preventable internal error, HBO mistakenly made episode six available to on-demand users in Spain and Nordic regions. The episode was only available for about an hour before HBO corrected its mistake, but that was all the time opportunistic Game of Thrones fans needed to rip the media and post it online.

Such a catastrophic blunder likely meant the termination of one or several HBO employees, but there have been many other leaks and accidents outside the scope of season seven.

Keeping up with Future Episodes

Reports of successful attacks are almost always bad news, depending upon how you feel about the target. The good news is that you don’t need to rely on hackers to provide access to premium gated HBO content. If you want to catch up on the latest season of Game of Thrones, all you need is a VPN tunnel.

I’d recommend getting an HBO account if you don’t have one already. However, HBO users are sometimes blocked from content, depending on where they are geographically located. If this is your situation, there are two solutions.The first is to simply download the files via BitTorrent.

As you likely already know, fans of the show will post the latest episodes mere minutes after they have finished airing. Some countries do actually permit downloads of copyrighted materials via Bittorrent, as long as they are only for personal use. Copyright law is constantly changing as the Internet evolves, too. However, cannot condone any illegal downloads, so please make sure you know your country’s laws first.

This isn’t my favorite solution though, because it has the same risks as any other BitTorrent files: viruses. Even with an antivirus scanner, some BitTorrent sites contain links, scripts, and files that can damage your computer. And let’s face it – some torrent sites are rather seedy. Instead, I think streaming is a preferable solution. However, if you are set on torrenting, it would be a good idea to check out our best 5 VPNs for torrenting in 2017 first.

The Final Season

George R. R. Martin is notorious for being an extremely slow writer, but can you blame him? He created such a massive fantasy world with so many moving pieces, it’s understandable that he wants to get everything just right. However, even though the HBO series has overtaken the books in terms of the storyline, fans may have to wait until 2019 for the climatic final season of Game of Thrones.

However, as tensions rise in anticipation, there’s sure to be plenty of content headed our way. Not only will there be trailers and interviews, there could even be more hacks and accidentally released footage.

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Final Thoughts

Game of Thrones is easily one of the most popular shows on HBO, and has passed so many milestones. Believe it or not, it’s one of the most expensive shows ever produced, with a single episode’s budget topping $8 million dollars. Furthermore, it’s one of the most pirated shows on BitTorrent, and is wildly popular with an international audience.

With so much energy, excitement and popularity, it’s not surprising that HBO was hacked. However, the Mr. Smith hacks are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been numerous leaks over the past seven seasons. Right now we expect the next season to be the final season, and there will undoubtedly be more leaked content as war erupts (for the final time) in Westeros.

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