It's no secret that "Game of Thrones" is popular, with the show setting new viewership records just about every week this season. But those numbers are nothing compared to how many people are watching the series illegally.

According to piracy news blog Torrent Freak, new data released by MUSO, a company that monitors piracy trends, reveals that installments from the seventh season of the hit HBO series were watched a total of more than one billion times -- an average of roughly 140 million times per episode. That's a staggering number, especially considering that HBO has been touting the show's record-breaking (legal) viewership, which topped out at 16.5 million same-day viewers for the season seven finale.

While 16.5 million views on traditional (and we stress, legal) platforms is certainly nothing to sneeze at, 140 million views per episode is insane, and once again speaks to the enduring popularity of "Thrones." According to MUSO, HBO's ongoing problem with leaks and hacks is the obvious source of this jaw-dropping data, and we have to imagine that the premium cable outlet isn't exactly pleased with this new information.

"Thrones" is winding down its run, with its eighth and final season is expected to debut sometime in either late 2018 or early 2019. It seems safe to say that the show will remain a prime target for hackers and pirates until the very end.

[via: Torrent Freak]