HBO’s battle against hackers and spoilers

HBO Game of Thrones
The last few weeks have been interesting for HBO. It’s not every day that hackers steal data containing one of the hottest shows on cable. But what HBO has done is slightly surprising. So, for those who aren’t aware: HBO was breached. Details and scripts for Season 7 were stolen as well as full episodes from other HBO shows. Nearly 1.5 terabytes of data was stolen with hackers sending details for Game of Thrones to news outlets. Countless spoilers have filled the web since then, along with leaked episodes. HBO has been working diligently to ensure their systems are not fully compromised. They even offered a payoff with $250k in Bitcoin to prevent the data from being distributed. That payoff, however, appears to have been a delay tactic according to an insider.

When the second wave of breached data was released, the hackers also released a ransom note. In it was an undisclosed ransom amount, noted as 6 months salary’s worth. With a short deadline provided, HBO has so far not been in communication with the hackers. The leak was first made public at the end of July. And close to a month since then, lots of details have been released for Game of Thrones as well as other popular HBO shows. Even though the full extent of the data has not been revealed, the hackers are focusing mainly on Game of Thrones. Threats of leaks have been made for the season finale, which is this Sunday. But so far the leaks haven’t affected the viewership of Game of Thrones.

To Spoil or Not to Spoil?

The mess HBO is dealing with is far from over. But so far Game of Thrones has been getting hit hard since the security breach, but the series still has lots of views. So far, Season 7 has had the highest ratings in the series, which will continue to climb with the 8th and final season. Each episode has had over 9 million viewers in the US alone. Episode 4 and 5 have broken 10 million viewers in the US despite story leaks. Episode 4 was fully leaked before its premiere, as well as Episode 6. It’s possible that the leaks are generating more interest in the show from nonfans and that curiosity is growing. But when it comes to spoilers, there are two types of fans.

The first is the spoiler lover. This type of fan wants to know every detail of the show or movie they are watching. They don’t care if they come across spoilers, it’ll only push their curiosity when it comes to digging deeper. They want to know theories, plot details, anything they can find until they finally watch the episode or movie they’ve been waiting for. The spoiler avoider is the fan that wants to experience the surprise the producers were trying to create. They avoid spoilers at all cost and even feel as if the episode or movie is ruined by knowing important details or plot twists. One thing I can relate to is being spoiled sucks. The hackers feel like they’ve held HBO ransom by dangling the show details above their heads, but people still watch the show.

The Twist Is Only Part of the Story

I’ve known many major plot points in Game of Thrones before watching the series. I began after Season 6 aired and was well aware of Ned Stark’s execution, the Red Wedding, Joffrey’s and Jon Snow’s murder, and what Hold the Door meant. But after actually watching the show and seeing those events play out, the story telling eclipsed those spoilers. I knew they were coming, but seeing the events that led to those deaths was more satisfying.

With the strong story that Game of Thrones gives us, the smallest detail can lead to something big. So if we get a few details that could spoil a major event in an upcoming episode, it won’t matter seeing as we don’t know the whole episode. And from there we see the events play out to that plot twist. Knowing what happens won’t make the show less enjoyable.

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