After “The Queen’s Justice” shocked fans with a few twists and turns last Sunday, the next episode of Game of Thrones, which is set to air this Sunday, was leaked online earlier today. And, before anyone asks, yes, it is the real thing. Although legitimate, the quality of episode 4 is well below standards, with a “for internal viewing only” watermark included–so I’d personally recommend waiting until Sunday to watch it on HBO. What’re a few days? I didn’t watch it, but this information comes from a variety of sources around the internet.
The leak came from Star India, one of HBO’s international network partners. That lovely watermark shows that Star India was the culprit. A Star India spokesperson released a statement after the leak confirming that it had actually happened, and that, “We [Star India] take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.” So it appears that it could’ve been someone from inside the company who just couldn’t wait until Sunday. Not cool, man. Not cool.
The leak comes at a time when HBO had already been hacked earlier in the week. The hackers were able to obtain almost 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO’s US servers, among this data was unaired scripts of Game of Thrones, pre-air episodes of Ballers–starring Dwayne Johnson–and Room 104, and other internal documents. Sources have confirmed that the hacks HBO suffered earlier in the week are not from the same source as the ones from earlier today.
HBO can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to the issues of their cyber security. Two years ago, during the beginning of season 5 of Game of Thrones, the first four episodes leaked online. Even an episode of season 6 made its way out early. Now the show suffers another hit, but, it’s a hit that most fans don’t really mind. HBO, on the other hand, should be a little worried.
Most problems these hackers have with HBO is the way they release their shows–on a weekly basis. When other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime release every episode of a show’s season all at once, people start expecting everyone to follow suit. But HBO has been around for a long time, and it’s not like fans care that episodes come out on a weekly schedule; they watch them regardless. I think the leaks are more for the hackers than anything. They know how to breach a huge company’s security, and they want people to see that.
While waiting for Sunday, check out the trailer for episode 4 of Game of Thrones below.