Late on Wednesday, OurMine Security Group took over HBO’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for roughly an hour. The so-called white hat hacking group also gained access to the Twitter accounts of network shows like Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Last Week Tonight, and more.
The brief incident is the latest development of the media giant’s recent cyber security nightmare, which has caused leaked episodes and materials from yet unaired TV shows. So far, all of the hits HBO has taken have been unrelated, and this last one was benign enough to not cause any trouble.
Game of Thrones’ online community has been affected the most due to the pervasive threat of leaks and spoilers while its penultimate season is currently airing. The sixth episode of season seven leaked on Tuesday after European affiliates accidentally aired and streamed it ahead of schedule.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 17, 2017
Hackers said they were “just testing” HBO’s security
Across all social media accounts that were compromised by OurMine, the message was the same: “we are just testing your security.” Then the anonymous group invited HBO to contact them at their official site “to upgrade the security.”
Regardless of the methods or purposes that these hackers had, it definitely does not look good for HBO to take yet another hit while it is still down from a significant blow last night.
Network spokespeople told The Hollywood Reporter that they were investigating the incident, and confirmed that the breach was not related to previous attacks to their servers.
You okay over there HBO? pic.twitter.com/sAJjPkBljA
— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) August 17, 2017
While a group of hackers did break into HBO’s network and stole scripts, episodes, and more related to upcoming shows, the last Game of Thrones episode to leak was crossed off as a human error from a third-party vendor in Europe.
OurMine is a shady yet relatively inoffensive organization in terms of actual damage done, but they certainly have the technical know-how to get around people’s social media accounts.
In the past, they have breached entire YouTube networks, Wikipedia, Medium, and personal Twitter accounts belonging to CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai.
— ronald isley (@yoyotrav) August 17, 2017
Could hackers leak Game of Thrones Season 7 finale?
With only one episode of Season 7 left, both HBO and loyal fans of the TV adaptation must be on pins and needles. The threat of a Game of Thrones season finale leak is real, apparently, if Swedish Reddit users are to be believed.
The r/FreeFolk user who first recorded the episode in HD and uploaded it to the sub has since deleted his account or had it deleted by Reddit, but before doing so he claimed that he was able to do what he did in the first place thanks to a glitch in the HBO Go platform (not just the error by which the episode was shown).
He said some knowledge and equipment was required to exploit the security flaw and that he would not reveal any details since at the time of his post it was already believed that HBO was monitoring the thread to quickly take down any links that surfaced.
In the end, that very same user was the one who delivered “the leak that was promised” in full HD, so eager fans who don’t care much about airing schedules remain hopeful that he will deliver once again. At this point, of course, this could all just be smoke and mirrors.