If you’ve kept an eye on the news recently it would be hard to miss the woes that American TV giant ‘HBO’ have been facing with their data security. They’ve recently lost 1.5 Terrabytes of data, including the leak of two episodes of hit show ‘Game of Thrones’. Since then, things have got even worse. HBO’s official Twitter account has now become victim of a breach.
Using the companies account they were able to post this tweet:
It isn’t Twitter itself that’s been hacked, which leads one to believe the reason HBO have been breached is possibly down to a lack of diligence with their passwords. It might sound like a trivial solution, however building a strong password can deflect a potential intruder.
A 2016 report shows that a whopping 60% of data breaches have been as a result of weak or stolen passwords. Creating a strong password takes only seconds of your time and could save you facing irreparable reputational damage, fines and loss of customer data.
As you can imagine the press have jumped on this story with both feet. Every major news outlet is now reporting on HBO’s failure to protect itself against a cyber attack. Granted, because of these incidents they will likely get their act together, but the reputational damage is already done. The news stories denouncing HBO’s cyber security will be there for years to come, easily found via a quick Google search.
Ryan Marshall, Incident Response Analyst at Foregenix, tells us:
Attackers will attempt to gain access to accounts by trying to log in using a list of thousands of different potential passwords, known as a wordlist. The wordlists used by attackers will contain a wide range of different potential passwords - built up from dictionaries, name lists, or previously leaked passwords - and if the password to the account happens to be in the wordlist, the attacker will have full control over that account. The attacks that we have seen so far have concentrated on trying to gain access to the administrator account of a websites backend system, allowing the attacker full control over a website. Choosing the wrong password can be a costly mistake.
Whilst HBO might recover and continue providing us with glorious dragons, small businesses might not recover quite so easily if at all. Could weak passwords be to blame? Time will tell, however it seems that as the Lannister’s slowly lose control over Westeros, HBO are quickly losing control of their cyber security.
The hack is the latest in a string of security setbacks for HBO in recent weeks. Unidentified hackers claim to have stolen 1.5TB of data from the company in July. Out of the haul they released Game of Thrones scripts, company documents and unbroadcast episodes of HBO's other shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm and Insecure. Separately, four people have been arrested for leaking an episode of Game of Thrones before it aired. The accused were current and former employees of a Mumbai-based company that stores and processes the series for an online streaming service.