"We have learned that the upcoming episode of Game of Thrones was accidentally posted for a brief time on the HBO Nordic and HBO España platforms," HBO said in a statement. "The error appears to have originated with a third party vendor and the episode was removed as soon as it was recognised. This is not connected to the recent cyber incident at HBO in the U.S."
The episode was removed as soon as it was "recognised," but that wasn't fast enough to prevent savvy Redditors from dispersing the episode. There are now screenshots of the episode online as well as spoilers-a-plenty for those who want to look. (If you don't, we recommend avoiding Reddit discussion pages.)
This comes right after the fourth episode, "Spoils of War," made it onto the internet before its air date. HBO didn't seem to hurt for it, though; the episode enjoyed the highest ratings of the show's history at around 10.2 million viewers.
"We 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," a spokesperson for an HBO distribution partner said in a statement to Mashable.
For HBO, this is a grave issue — cybersecurity is a big deal, especially when data is a hot commodity. However, these hacks don't seem to be hurting the network's reputation at all. In fact, they keep the network in the press and maybe, just maybe, they're driving viewership. We'll see what the numbers are for episode six of the seventh season, which airs August 20.
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