HBO offered hackers $250,000

HBO appears to have tried to pay off the hackers who stole scripts, shows, and employee information sometime last month.

In a message, an HBO executive reportedly writes, “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.” HBO declined to comment to both publications, but Variety says it was able to confirm that the email was real.

The company apparently offered the payment as a “bounty payment” reward in which companies reward white-hat hackers for discovering cyber security vulnerabilities in their computer networks.

Apparently, the email read:

“You have the advantage of having surprised us. In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week,” the HBO executive reportedly writes in the email.

“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, or we can wire the funds as soon as you give us the account information.”

Since the offered amount is just 3 to 4 percent of what the hackers demanded, the proposal apparently failed to satisfy the greed of hackers, and they have threatened to release more files from its 1.5 terabytes of stolen data every Sunday until the ransom is paid.

Although HBO did not yet respond to the recently leaked email, a person familiar with HBO’s response to the hack told Reuters that the company sent that email “as a stall tactic” and had never intended to make the $250,000 or the full $6 Million payment to the hackers.

Late last month, the HBO hackers claimed to have obtained around 1.5 terabytes of information from HBO and dropped upcoming episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104,” and a script of the fourth episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Sources:

The Verge
CBS News

Mohamad El Hout, MBA, M.Eng., CISSP

Mohamad is an entrepreneur and a Senior Security Consultant dealing with the design and delivery of standard and complex security gateway solutions, covering a wide range of cutting edge technologies. His interests include business, technology, leadership, sports, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge.

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