(No spoilers ahead!)
As the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones approaches, the HBO hackers, collectively known as “Mr. Smith,” have threatened to release the season-ending episode to the internet. Set to air Sunday night, the deadline isn’t too far away.
The hackers also reached out to online publication Mashable to share their latest plunder: what seems to be nearly every single username and password to HBO‘s social media accounts. These include the biggies, like @HBO and @GameOfThrones on Twitter, but also the network’s various Instagram accounts and Giphy pages. All the info was sent to Mashable by the “Mr. Smith group.”
(Mashable has not and will not release the login information, nor did they test its veracity.)
After threatening to “Be ready for GOT S& E6 &E7 as soon as possible,” the hackers say they “have access to many HBO platforms already.”
The hackers sent Mashable multiple screenshots of what appear to be HBO’s Giphy pages (like the one above), covered in phrases like “HB-Old is Dying….” and “HBO is Falling.”
The Giphy sites were briefly down Tuesday, but are now back up and appear normal.
When asked for comment, HBO referred to their old statement from last week, which said the corporation is “not in communication with the hacker and we are not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released.”
“It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO. The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in,” said the network.
So far, the hackers have released multiple episodes of HBO shows including Game of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ballers and Room 104, along with scripts of already-aired and upcoming episodes.
They’ve also leaked executive emails and released the personal phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses of Game of Thrones Season 7 cast members, among them Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Lena Headey (Cersei), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow).
Two weeks ago, the hackers released an email allegedly sent to them by HBO offering $250,000 in exchange for a halt to the leaks. The legitimacy of the email hasn’t been confirmed by HBO, though an anonymous executive at the company said it was genuine.
HBO’s quarter-million offer is a fraction of the hackers’ original demand: their “six-month salary in Bitcoin,” which equals approximately $6 million.
The hackers claim that they’re not criminals, but “white hats” (used to reference people of good and moral standing, or, in computer speak, someone who hacks into a network to evaluate its security).
In the ransom note sent to HBO, they say, “Its [sic] a game for us. Money isn’t our main purpose. We don’t want to endanger HBO’s situation nor cause it to lose its reputation. We want to be your partner in a tiny part of HBO’s huge income.”
So far the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. In that attack, hackers unearthed thousands of embarrassing emails and released personal information, including salaries and social security numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees.
The hackers claim to have 1.5 TB worth of data, including scripts, upcoming episodes of HBO shows and movies, and information damaging to HBO.
Variety reported last week that at least one of the leaked documents seems to have been manipulated by the hackers — to make it look like they accessed the email of HBO CEO Richard Plepler — casting doubt on the severity of the hack and the perpetrator’s abilities.