HBO leaks latest episode of Game of Thrones

The network is facing fresh security fears after their accidental leak on Wednesday.

HBO’s monolithic fantasy Game of Thrones has once again fallen victim to a hacking scandal after HBO Spain released the seventh season’s sixth episode online five days before scheduled.

Subscribers of HBO Spain were given access to the episode for an hour before it was taken down, however this gave attentive fans plenty of time to make copies and circulate the episode on social media. HBO Nordic also leaked the sixth instalment, titled ‘Beyond the Wall’ five days before it’s expected release on Monday.

Yesterday, HBO social media accounts were targeted, including HBO’s Game of Thrones and Girls Twitter accounts. Hacking group OurMine claimed responsibility for the security breach, admitting they were testing HBO’s security with a short-lived tweet which was removed within an hour.

HBO is increasingly becoming a target for hackers with swelling numbers tuning in to Game of Thrones each year. 2011’s first season attracted an average of 2.5 million viewers per episode in the United States, while season seven’s viewers have barely dropped below 10 million per episode. Season seven’s first episode broke HBO ratings, with 16 million international viewers.

HBO’s self-inflicted leak comes after a hacker claimed to have pirated 1.5 terabytes of information from the network, including scripts and unaired episodes from three of HBO’s productions.

Game of Throne’s Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. Image: HBO

Earlier this month, Game of Thrones’ fourth episode was also leaked by HBO distributor Star India which led to the arrest of four men in Mumbai. A separate hack was carried out by an entity calling themselves Mr. Smith, and demanded a bitcoin ransom from the network to prevent the stolen Game of Thrones scripts and HBO’s vice president’s emails being leaked online.

Although HBO has released a statement confirming the most recent episode leak was not linked to previous hacks, the network confirmed the error was caused by a third party vendor.

This week’s leaks have again sparked fresh concern for the safety of international networks like HBO and Sony whose confidential information was released in 2014. With such high ratings, it seems inevitable the internationally-circulated fantasy drama would fall victim to hacks. However, the attacks made against HBO will only strengthen the network’s online security and the weekly release of new episodes ensures fans can access legal versions of episodes soon after major security breaches.

Feature Image: HBO