HBO hack: 'Game of Thrones' Episode 4 surfaces briefly

The early bird, it seems, gets the leaked Game of Thrones episode.

Episode 4 of HBO’s most popular show, set to air this Sunday, surfaced online early Friday, about a week after 1.5 terabytes of data were stolen from the cable network.

But it was only out there for a few hours before it was taken down. Attempts to reach the video stream shared on Twitter, which had been successful earlier in the morning,  resulted in “file not found” errors by 9:30 a.m. ET.

Earlier this week, a company called IP-Echelon working on behalf of the cable network moved swiftly to issue the digital equivalent of a cease-and-desist notice to Google to remove links to material protected by copyright law.

But to borrow a phrase from the show, the hackers appear to be unbowed, unbent, unbroken: On Thursday, they distributed an email to news outlets threatening to post more of their digital booty Sunday night.