Sometimes, confidential information leaks online because attention-thirsty hackers broke into your servers. And sometimes, the fuck up is coming from inside the house. In the case of season seven, episode six of Game of Thrones—which leaked online today less than a week before its scheduled air date—it was decidedly an example of the latter.
HBO has been in a weeks-long impasse with hackers who have been leaking their shit online in a scheme the cyber invaders have framed as a Game of Thrones breach. And yet, the only parties responsible for leaking full episodes of the show’s latest season so far is HBO and its affiliates themselves.
Season seven, episode six of Game of Thrones episode was leaked Wednesday after becoming briefly available through both HBO Nordic and HBO Spain’s streaming services. According to posts on an unmoderated subreddit that often serves as ground zero for such leaks, only a low quality livestream was initially available, but a full quality upload soon made its way online.
Asked for comment, an HBO spokesperson blamed the error on a third party vendor. HBO would not comment further on the nature of the third party vendor. Here’s their statement in full:
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. The error appears to have originated with a third party vendor and the episode was removed as soon as it was recognized. This is not connected to the recent cyber incident at HBO in the U.S.
So far, the hackers have released full episodes of several HBO shows, including Ballers, Room 104, Insecure, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Barry and The Deuce, but only unreleased episode outlines of Game of Thrones have popped up online as a result of the hackers. And a previous episode of Game of Thrones that was uploaded ahead of its scheduled time was allegedly leaked by employees at an India-based company that stores and processes shows.
A statement from HBO on Monday suggested that the streaming service has grown exasperated by the leaks, with the network saying the hackers “may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.”
Play the game, I guess, before the game plays you.