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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Game of Thrones content leak: India’s Prime Focus issues statement

Game of Thrones content leak: India’s Prime Focus issues statement

I have received the following communication today, 16 August 2017, in Mumbai, by email


Mumbai, India (August 15, 2017) - On August 4, 2017, a link to view Episode 4 of Season 7 of Game of Thrones, bearing a Star India (TV network operators, distribution partners of HBO in India) watermark, appeared online, three days before its airdate, as an outcome of an illegal breach of obligations, by current and former employees of Prime Focus Technologies (PFT).  

PFT immediately initiated forensic investigations to determine the cause. Based on a multi-faceted investigation, including extensive logs of our system, a complaint was filed on August 6, 2017, and supplementary information was provided on multiple occasions, culminating in a First Information Report (FIR) being filed with the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) Cyber Cell, of Mumbai Police, by Shailesh Manohar, Vice President at PFT, on August 9, 2017. Acting on the information and extensive evidence provided by PFT, the office of DCP Cyber Cell, Mumbai arrested 4 accused on August 14.

PFT is appreciative of the speed and rigour with which the Special Inspector General of Police IGP (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra, and DCP Cyber Cell, of Mumbai Police, have moved on this investigation. PFT is working closely with its client and co-operating with the police to take the investigation to its logical conclusion at the earliest, and to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime.

PFT has been engaged with Star India as one of its key technology partners since 2011. PFT manages 1.5 million hours of content for some of the world’s biggest broadcasters and studios, globally. As a technology partner, PFT invests in content integrity and security, makes significant investments to ensure content protection, and is ISO 27001 & SOC2 Certified.

It is important to note that this was not a system hack. It was an illegal breach of obligations by the concerned persons, despite PFT’s continual internal emphasis on protocols of content security and ethical practices. We deeply regret and condemn this incident – and affirm our strong resolve to continue the fight against content-related crimes, in an effort to make the M&E industry’s content more secure. PFT has always been, and remains, committed to the highest standards in content security and integrity in managing its clients' content.

This incident should not be confused with the HBO hack being reported. 


Vincent Galdi 

This message was sent to from | MediaMax | 48 Burd St Suite 105 | Nyack, NY 10960

*Game of Thrones is an original series by HBO, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series.

**In the end of July 2017, there was an HBO statement: “HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cyber-security firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”

***The hackers email: “Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. Its HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! You are lucky to be the first pioneers to witness and download the leak. Enjoy it & spread the words. Whoever spreads well, we will have an interview with him. . . HBO is falling.”

The e-mail also included the phone number of HBO’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Jeff Cusson’s office.

****On August 7, The Hollywood Reporter claimed its office received an e-mail containing a video letter from the hacker. In the video, the hacker allegedly demands money from HBO, claiming that the network is their 17th hacking target (three prior targets, they claim, failed to pay), and alleges it took six months to gain access to the company’s database.

*****The Guardian reported on August 8 that hackers have released 3.4GB of data, and that they’re demanding that HBO pay an undisclosed ransom to prevent further leaks. Contained within the leaked data are draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, and technical documents, detailing HBO’s internal network and administrator passwords.

******NDTV India posted on the web today: Parts of the upcoming sixth episode of Game of Thrones' on-going season 7 have leaked online, after it was accidentally aired by HBO España on Tuesday night, a full five days before its usual airing date. This isn't part of the HBO hack from last month, but a separate incident in itself.

The episode appears to be genuine, judging by the clips and screenshots now circulating across multiple threads on Reddit. One screenshot also confirms the episode length we already know of, at 1 hour and 11 minutes, further adding to its genuineness.

While the full episode hasn't surfaced yet, some Reddit users claim to have seen live-streams on Twitch and YouTube before they were taken down.


The sixth episode of Game of Thrones, season 7, is set to air Sunday, August 20 on HBO in the USA. It will be available Monday, August 21 on the Hotstar App of STAR, and aired on Tuesday, August 22 on STAR World in India.

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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