Spoiler Alert: When Cyber Criminals Hit Hollywood
Game of Thrones is lighting the Internet abuzz – not only for the culmination of its action-packed seventh season, but also for being the latest franchise to fall victim to hackers. Hackers craftier than Cersei Lannister gained access to countless unreleased shows, scripts, and yes…even emails. As we’ve said before, fraud knows no boundaries, and your favorite television series (and movies) are no exception. Stay glued to the screen as we take a closer look at what’s currently happening at HBO and reflect on some of the biggest Hollywood hits that fell victim to cyberattacks.
Among the many lessons Game of Thrones and HBO have taught us, it’s to beware of anyone named Littlefinger. According to the Hollywood Reporter, hackers used the name “little.finger66” to pull one of the greatest cyberattacks in entertainment, making off with a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data. Talk about a teaser: they’ve been gradually leaking the goods they’ve stolen, with HBO still investigating the extent of the breach and seeing what drips out next. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg with the hack via a leaked Game of Thrones script along with unaired episodes of Ballers and Room 104. Experts anticipate emails, scripts, unreleased shows, and financial documents, among other important assets, have been taken and have categorized the hack as one of the most nefarious. The company’s 2,500+ employees have been warned not to open any suspicious emails as investigations continue.
The arch nemesis in Netflix’s cyber hack saga goes by the name “The Dark Overlord.” Earlier this spring, The Dark Overlord claimed to have stolen the fifth season of popular prison series Orange is the New Black, reportedly through a Hollywood post-production facility last year. After The Dark Overlord demanded a ransom that Netflix refused to pay, up went season five onto an illegal file sharing site. Netflix wasn’t The Dark Overlord’s only victim -- OX, IFC, NAT GEO, and ABC are also alleged studios that have experienced hacking, with The Dark Overlord threatening to release content from them as well.
While studios have become regular targets for hackers, the biggest name synonymous with entertainment and cyberattacks has been Sony. Deemed the “hack of the century,” the Sony Pictures hack at the end of 2014 was only harbinger of what was to come for other studios. Targeting Sony’s global network with malware, hackers made off with content from 3,262 of the company’s 6,797 personal computers and 837 of its 1,555 servers, according to Fortune. To make matters worse, and to ensure Sony would struggle to recover this content, the attackers had also added an algorithm to overwrite the data seven different ways. Following the hacks, confidential content ranging from colorful email exchanges among executives to employee Social Security numbers to unreleased Sony films were leaked.
All the dragons and wildfire in Westeros couldn’t stop these cyberattacks, but they are only going to get worse and more malicious. Regardless of industry, it’s a reminder for businesses to have a comprehensive security strategy in place to protect your assets and prevent fraud. To learn more about building or buying a fraud prevention system, download our eBook "Fraud Prevention: The Cost Analysis of Build vs. Buy".