'Game of Thrones'
A poster of HBO TV series "Game of Thrones." Game of Thrones/ Facebook

After the recent “Game of Thrones” episode leak, HBO continues to be bogged down by hackers. Its recent reliance on digital platforms has left the company, and others like it, vulnerable to attacks. What can HBO do in such a situation? International Business Times Australia spoke to cyber security experts to understand the problem.

The first question that needs to be answered is: how did the leaks happen in the first place? The entire production and distribution process is on digital platforms, which means studios and companies have to examine every step of their process to ensure that the partners they work with have sufficient security in place.

“There are two ways the leaks could have happened: a supplier like a post-production group was the weak point in chain of custody, or else their internal network was compromised and someone was able to exfiltrate data,” said Dimitri Sirota, co-founder and CEO of BigID, the first enterprise privacy management platform.

Why are Hollywood companies with billions of dollars in their war chest so helpless in preventing attacks? The reason points to the kind of digital model these companies have chosen, according to Alex Heid, white hat hacker and Chief Research Officer at SecurityScorecard, a leading cybersecurity rating and monitoring platform.

“The 'ecosystem model' that has emerged within the last few years where enterprises are interconnected to each other for the purposes of expedited business processes is quite different from the 'fortress model' of previous eras, where enterprise networks were segregated and did not rely on third party connectivity and networks to operate. This new 'ecosystem' model also brings new technologies into play, as well as new processes that are oftentimes implemented with the goal of expediting business, and information security concerns tend to be an afterthought,” Heid said.

What can HBO do now? The experts feel there are certain steps that need to be taken, and the company seems to be doing this already. Heid feels that the leaked episode is not the major concern, as episodes of most TV shows are available online within a few hours of airing. But any other information the hackers have could be a problem.

“There are many traditional approaches to safeguarding data focused on breach detection and building walls around data. But what companies, especially big names like HBO, need to do is monitor their data from the inside. There many ways to penetrate a castle but you don’t know something is wrong until it is too late. It’s important to know where their data has been, who has accessed it and how it has moved from one application to another. What needs to be done is better tracking and protection of the IP itself,” Sirota said.