HBO Reportedly Offered Hackers $250000 'Bug Bounty Payment'

FBI investigates Game of Thrones hack

HBO hackers leak emails, demand payment

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.

HBO has suffered a major cyber attack, and the company is asking the hackers to extend the ransom deadline.

According to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, HBO termed it as "bug bounty payment", calling it part of a programme where ethical hackers were rewarded for finding technical shortcomings, and bringing them to HBO's attention. HBO is not negotiating with the hackers, and the email was merely an attempt to buy some time, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing "a person familiar with the matter".

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As for the motive, the email (from hackers) said: "It's just about money".

In a swaggering five-minute video from "Mr Smith" to HBO chief executive Richard Plepler included in the dump, the hackers used white text scrolling on a black background to deliver an ultimatum - pay up within three days or see the group, which claims to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of HBO shows and confidential corporate data, upload entire series and sensitive proprietary files. Leakers gonna leak. Just... please no Game of Thrones spoilers before Sunday night?

The quarter-million offer is peanuts compared to the hackers' original demand: their "six-month salary in Bitcoin", which equals approximately $6 million. It is likely that HBO was trying to not have anything leaked out in public.

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

"We also have not been able to put into place the necessary infrastructure to be able to make a large payment in bitcoin, although we are taking steps to do so as you suggested", HBO exec's email. While $250,000 in bitcoin is a lot of money to most people, it isn't almost the amount the hacker originally demanded.

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