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

14 August, 2017, 01:53 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Jon Snow Battle of the Bastards Game of Thrones

The email indicates a negotiation between the network and the hackers.

"It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO", the statement continued. According to a new report, HBO offered hackers $250,000 as a "bug bounty payment" to prevent these leaks. The email looks like a concise string of a lengthy conversation where negotiation is trying to be done for the retrieval of classified information in return for money.

The note said that HBO was willing to make the payment "as a show of good faith", but needed time to fund an account for sending payments in bitcoin digital currency or obtain account information from the hackers so it could use a conventional bank wire to transmit the funds. HBO's response has been worded carefully so that it doesn't seem like the cable giant is paying them a ransom, it gives the impression that HBO is offering them a reward for discovering vulnerabilities in its system.

A person familiar with HBO's response to the attack told Reuters that the company sent the email "as a stall tactic" and had never meant to make the $250,000 payment or pay the full $6 million the hackers had demanded to hold off going public with data stolen from HBO. Several episodes of various HBO shows were leaked in the first data dump. So far, they have released some unaired episodes of HBO content including Ballers and Room 104.

With Time Warner beholden to the Trump administration during this sensitive time, who knows what kind of emails hackers might have found surrounding, say, the production of Real Time With Bill Maher, hosted by a staunch opponent of the President?

Hackers continue to pester HBO but have not released any material related to the network's hit show Game of Thrones in their latest leak.

HBO's parent company, Time Warner Inc., is now seeking federal government approval for an $85.4 billion takeover of the company by AT&T.

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