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

Game of Thrones Season 7

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.

Regardless of whether HBO meant to follow through with its US$250,000 offer, the e-mail on Friday raised questions among security professionals about the importance of the data and whether HBO's reaction might encourage future attacks.

HBO offered a reward of $250,000 in response to a data breach at the television group that produces "Game of Thrones", according to a report from a leaked memo.

HBO declined to comment on the leaked message to Variety, but the publication confirmed the veracity of the email with someone close to the investigation.

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The same hackers have subsequently released two dumps of HBO material and demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom.

"It's interesting that they're spinning it as a bug bounty program", said Pablo Garcia, CEO of Aliso Viejo, California-based FFRI North America.

The message also implores the hacker to extend a ransom-payment deadline for one week while the $250,000 payment is made and the necessary amount of bitcoin can be secured.

You have the advantage of having surprised us.

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The HBO hacker has struck yet again.

The hacker - or hackers - in question stole "thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents", in addition to leaking unaired episodes of the HBO shows "Ballers" and "Insecure", and company emails.

Variety earlier reported details about the $250,000 offer. An automated response was returned with an image of the HBO "bounty" offer, Reuters said.

In April, a hacker claimed to have released episodes of Netflix Inc's Orange is the New Black ahead of their official launch date.

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