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HBO offered $250K to hackers to buy time, leaked email says

12 August 2017, 04:38 | Bernard Bryant

The Latest: Hackers post 'Game of Thrones' files from HBO

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys the unburnt emerges naked from the flames

Hackers have demanded millions of dollars from HBO to stop leaks of data they plundered from the network, including scripts from its hit show Game of Thrones. The email sent by a top HBO executive was leaked by hackers to the media earlier today.

"As a show of good faith on our side, we are willing to commit to making a bug bounty payment of $250,000 to you as soon as we can establish the necessary account and acquire bitcoin", the email read, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But a source close to the situation told CNBC that this email was merely a "delay tactic" and said HBO is having no communication with the hackers now.

The message from the HBO exec is dated July 27 and mentions a "bug bounty" program probably to appease hackers who have called themselves white hat hackers.

"[HBO has] been working hard since [July 23] to review all of the material that you have made available to us ..." The email was worded in a way where they could buy time before the hackers release any sensitive data, and they also requested a full week to make the payment.

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The hackers demanded money worth six months of their salary, claiming they make $12 million to $15 million from stealing intellectual property and blackmailing companies. That means it's unclear if HBO actually would have gone through with paying the hackers, but it's still surprising even to see the offer be made.

Reuters said it tried emailing the hackers at an address it said it obtained from HBO. While $250,000 in bitcoin is a lot of money to most people, it isn't almost the amount the hacker originally demanded.

So far, however, the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. A lot of companies offer them.

In the ransom note sent to HBO, they say "Its [sic] a game for us".



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