The unreleased Episode 4 of Game of Thrones (GoT) Season 7 — to be shown on HBO on the night of 6 August — has been leaked online from Star India and the company has said it was investigating the incident.
Mobile comparison website Smartprix on Friday spotted a direct link to the MP4 of the episode at Star India's own distribution site, The Verge tech website reported.
Later, people started downloading GoT Episode 4 and sharing the clip with friends on various social media platforms.
"This confirms the compromise of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, earlier this afternoon," a Star India spokesperson said in a statement.
"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," the spokesperson added.
According to The Verge, the leaked Episode 4 has Star India's logo appearing throughout the episode leaked on the internet.
Earlier, in a separate data breach, a group of hackers who leaked unaired episodes of HBO's popular shows including GoT threatened to release additional content on 6 August.
The hacker group wrote in an automated email reply sent to Variety.com, that it will release the leak gradually every week and added that the next release may come this Sunday at 12 GMT (5 pm IST).
The group also repeated its claim that it had obtained a total of 1.5 TB of data when it broke into HBO's computer networks.
There were fears among HBO's employees of their personal data having been accessed by the hackers, but the company denied the notion.
"At this time, we do not believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised, but the forensic review is ongoing," Richard Plepler, President and CEO, HBO, said earlier this week.
However, according to Variety.com, a security contractor hired by HBO to scrub search results for the leaked data from Google revealed in a filing on Tuesday that the hackers got their hands on "thousands of internal documents".
Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab termed the incident a new phenomenon as far as cyber crimes go.
"The HBO attack was relatively a new phenomenon. At first and throughout the 90s and early 2000s, most hackers intended primarily on vandalism attacks rather than for making money. But with time, it became clear that cyber attacks could bring with them serious money," Altaf Halde, MD, Kaspersky Lab, had earlier told IANS.
"Hacking into HBO and stealing Game of Thrones piggybacks on one of the most active talking points in the world. Entertainment companies are like governments and hacking groups in that their intellectual property is of interest to everyone," Halde added.