Hackers assault film industry

The film industry has just seen a turning point in the history of film hacking with the theft of 1.5 tons of data from  HBO channel-the producer and broadcaster of the cult series “Game of Thrones”. Until  this day, we only knew of stolen copies that were released on the Internet. The time has come when hackers directly attack studio servers. How to prevent cyber risk in the film industry?

The film industry, object of desire, has known about the problem of hacking for a long time. Very often, it was enough to look for a human mistake in the post-production chain to trace back to the source. In 2007, our firm was entrusted with a case involving an American blockbuster pirated three weeks before its release. One of its copies, for festivals and for the classification commission, had been borrowed by an employee of the studio, who, in turn, had lent it to his son. A family history that resulted in a loss of 80 million dollars for the studio.

There are efficient ways to go back to the source of these leaks. The invisible “tattoo” system called digital watermark, identifies each single copy. In case of theft, a database allows the file at the origin of the pirated disclosure to be found. Even if it does not prevent theft, this system allows for the identification of the possessors of the copy at the origin of the hacking. One of the advantages, and not the very least, of this system is the empowerment of all actors of  production chain, from one end to the other.


Several million dollars for “Game of Thrones” series

The case about the hacking of HBO is a symbol of new risks in the audiovisual production and the management of this type of loss needs new skills in audiovisual and management of cyber risk. Hackers that hacked the servers of the chain are supposed to have stolen not yet released episodes of  Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” as well as episodes of the series “Ballers”, “ Insecure”, “Room 104” and “Barry”. Scripts, and  a great amount of the company’s confidential data,  were also stolen. After the release of  episode 4 of  season 7, hackers asked for a ransom of several million dollars in bitcoins.

Back to 2014, Sony Picture Entertainment was the victim of  massive data hacking threatening to release several films on the internet. This phenomenon could spread if the sector does not realise the importance of preventing and reacting efficiently to attacks. To react to the threat, the loss adjuster has to evaluate damages, estimate the loss while investigating the hacking. Our Art and Media and NITC loss adjusters work together to carry out the most precise and operational analysis in case of theft of audiovisual files. They are able to estimate the amount of the losses thanks to measuring tools. The future of the art and film industry and the whole economic development of our companies are at stake…


Fabien CHERMETTE, Senior Art & Media Loss Adjuster

Guillaume PARENT, Art & Media Loss Adjuster