- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thousands of internal HBO documents have been leaked online, an anti-piracy company hired by the cable network said Tuesday, raising questions concerning the size and scope of a recently disclosed security breach.

“The website winter-leak.com shares thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents,” IP-Echelon wrote in a take-down request sent Tuesday to Google on the network’s behalf.

“The large (100GB) files linked from this page contain masses of copyrighted items including documents, images, videos and sound,” the notice said.

HBO acknowledged on Monday this week that a recent “cyber incident” resulted in the compromise of certain proprietary information but refrained from publicizing specifics.

A hacker or hackers, meanwhile, claim to have stolen upwards of 1.5 terabytes of company data, and have already leaked upcoming episodes of HBO programs including “Ballers,” “Insecure,” and “Room 104,” as well as a script for a future “Game of Thrones” episode, among other documents.

The cybercriminal behind the breach may have pilfered more than just a handful of episodes, however. The 100 gigabytes already leaked online represents one-fifteenth of the 1.5 terabytes cybercriminals claim to have stolen, and the website hosting the stolen material said this week that additional material will soon be made available.

The incident has already drawn similarities to the Sony Pictures Entertainment breach in 2014 that resulted in a trove of email messages stolen from the inboxes of studio executives ending up online, among other documents. Richard Plepler, HBO’s chairman and CEO, sent a company-wide email Wednesday amid fears his staffers will face a similar fate.

“At this time, we do not believe that our e-mail system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing,” Mr. Plepler wrote. “We are also in the process of engaging an outside firm to work with our employees to provide credit monitoring and we will be following up with those details.”

Winter-Leak.com, the site named in the complaint, could not be accessed Thursday. An HBO spokesperson declined to comment on the take-down request, Variety reported Wednesday “due to an ongoing investigation.”

The U.S. government has blamed North Korean state-sponsored hackers for the 2014 Sony breach, but Pyongyang has denied responsibility. A hacker or hackers using the handle “little.finger66” has taken credit for the HBO breach and described the heist on Winter-Leak as “the greatest leak of cyber space era.” They did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment Thursday, but identified theirselves in an automatic reply as “Mr. Smith.”

“Yes, we hacked HBO and 1.5 TB of sensitive data and films is in our hands!” the email said. “HBO is Falling.”

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