Congratulations, you’re famous.
You’re paid a small fortune to prance around exotic occasions, saying other people’s words, accompanied by CGI dragons… and millions of people are glued to your antics every week on TV.
Yes, you’re an actor on HBO’s hit TV show “Game of Thrones.”
Of course, fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In particular, it can be hard to have a private life if you’re appearing in an acclaimed swords-and-sorcery TV epic that many obsess over. Some of your more… err… fervent fans may even want to get in contact with you.
Either because they want to declare their undying love, or because they’re desperate to find out what happens next in the storyline. Whatever their motive, when the attention becomes too intense it’s understandable that you long for your privacy, and to be able to close the door on the madness.
The problem is that you’re not the only one responsible for guarding your privacy. You are also placing your trust in other individuals and corporations to keep your personal details out of the public’s gaze.
That’s a truth that the stars of HBO’s hit fantasy TV show “Game of Thrones” must be all too aware of right now.
As has been previously reported, HBO recently fell victim to a security breach which saw hackers steal a reported 1.5 terabytes of data from the entertainment company, including the email archive of one of its senior staff.
It’s a little disappointing to hear that HBO’s vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen, had his emails stolen in this way – especially as “Game of Thrones” appears to have taken sensible steps to better protect the email accounts of the show’s stars with two-step verification.
In a seeming attempt to increase HBO’s headaches, the hackers released an episode of “Game of Thrones” onto the internet at the end of last week, before its official airing on TV networks around the world, making it child’s play for any avid fan to download.
Since then a video message addressed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler from a mysterious “Mr Smith” has been published, in which a ransom demand of over US $6 million worth of Bitcoin is made.
Leakage will be your worst nightmare; your competitors will know about your current & future strategies, your inner circle inside HBO & senior staff will be thrown into chaos, your views specially fans became very upset and they blame you rather than us!, downfall in stocks will be predictable and so on. As you are in the business from decades, you yourselves will be full aware of catastrophic consequences …. So make a wise decision!
Whoever made the ransom demand video could probably do with learning a little more about movie editing – as it’s hardly an exciting watch, with paragraph after paragraph of white text on a black background slowly scrolling up the screen, lasting in the region of five minutes (it feels longer). Mr Smith may wish to go back to film school.
All of this, of course, is bad news for HBO on a corporate basis. But we shouldn’t forget that it also impacts individuals as well. And it’s not just the employee whose HBO email account got hacked who will be feeling the pain.
According to a report in The Guardian, many internal documents have been leaked by the hackers – including one which contains the confidential personal phone numbers and email addresses for Game of Thrones actors including Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage.
Which is fantastic if you’re a frenzied fan who fancies calling Daenerys Targaryen at two o’clock in the morning to chat about her pet dragons, but probably not such a great experience for the actress concerned.
The more the hackers leak from HBO, the harder it is to imagine that the company will be prepared to do a deal with their extortionists.
As the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures proved, a successful hack attack can cripple a business’s ability to operate in the short term, but that doesn’t mean that it is unrecoverable.
It appears that the security breach at HBO is much less serious than the Sony hack, but that will be little consolation to the individuals and employees whose privacy has been breached, and will be finding that their glamorous lives are looking a little less appealing this week.
Bad luck, you’re famous.
written by Graham Cluley, ESET We Live Security