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Insiders say the HBO hack is ‘7 times larger’ than the Sony hack

This could get messy.


Christine Friar

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Posted on Aug 2, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:54 pm CDT

It looks like last week’s HBO leak, which included two unreleased TV episodes and a possible upcoming Game of Thrones script, was just the tip of a monster iceberg.

New reports indicate that the FBI is now involved in an investigation into the hack (along with a cybersecurity firm called Mandiant), and that the total amount of content stolen was a staggering 1.5 terabytes. To put that in context: 1.5 terabytes is 1,500 gigabytes—in the 2014 Sony hack, which brought the studio to its knees and led to the removal of then co-chair Amy Pascal, only about 200 gigabytes of data was released online. As the Hollywood Reporter points out, that’s more than seven times more stolen content from HBO:

The attack was sophisticated… targeting specific content and data housed in different locations, suggesting multiple points of entry. Even more chilling, there was no ransom demand, say sources, leaving the motive in question and raising the specter that video footage, internal documents or even email correspondence could be leaked… One insider calls it “nefarious” because it was targeted to specific content and data (as with Sony) and not simply a trawling sweep (as was the case with the Orange Is the New Black heist).

Erik Rasmussen, a former federal prosecutor and Secret Service agent, told the Hollywood Reporter that “At 1.5 terabytes, it could be a whole block of TV, or worse, it could be emails, financial documents, employee or customer information.”

Ajay Arora, CEO of security firm Vera, added, “The entire Library of Congress is estimated to contain 10 terabytes of print content. As such, it’s hard to believe that video and/or audio are not part of what was stolen. It will be interesting—and terrifying to HBO and their parent, Time Warner—to see what comes out.”

While at least one unnamed hacking group has stepped forward claiming to be responsible, investigators said they are currently focused on figuring out what the hackers have, who they are, and what their motives are.

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*First Published: Aug 2, 2017, 12:47 pm CDT