HBO is the New Hacked

HBO has joined the ranks of Sony and Netflix and has had their new, unreleased shows hacked and posted on the dark web.

HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler sent an email to employees saying, in part, “there has been a cyber incident directed at the company”, which I assume, means that they were hacked.  It goes on to say that it “resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming”.

Finally he acknowledges this is unsettling and says that senior leadership and their extraordinary technology team are working to fix the problem.

It is interesting that the Chairman of HBO is dancing around reality (which I really do not recommend doing), while at the same time the media is reporting what happened in gory detail.

Entertainment Weekly says that hackers stole 1.5 terabytes of programming and scripts and have posted an upcoming episode of Ballers and Room 104 and written material on next week’s Game of Thrones episode, with threats of more to come.

This attack is different than most.  It is clear that the attackers TARGETED HBO.  Probably 95% plus of attacks are attacks of opportunity – random attacks that go after the weak link.  Those attacks are MUCH easier to protect against than an attack that went after HBO.  Unless you are some high value target, you can reasonably assume that attackers will not spend an inordinate amount of time going after you.  On the other hand, if you are Lockheed Martin and the Chinese want to get the tech specs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, you better be playing your ‘A’ game, which, unfortunately for the U.S., Lockheed was not playing.

You may be saying that if HBO got hacked, it is hopeless for me, but I would say that is NOT the case.  They are a special case.  Even Target and Home Depot were targets of opportunity.  The Office of Personnel Management and Sony were targeted attacks.  I would guess that for every targeted attack there are thousands of attacks of opportunity.

What I would tell you is that if your approach to protecting your systems and especially your information has not changed in the last year or so, you are likely at higher risk than you should be.

Information for this post came from Entertainment Weekly.

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