HBO places $250000 bounty on Game of Thrones' hackers

Danny Woods
August 13, 2017

Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) HBO network last month offered $250,000 to cyber criminals who hacked into its computer system, asking them to extend a deadline for paying a much larger ransom, according to an email reviewed by Reuters.

The July 27 e-mail was sent by John Beyler, an HBO executive who thanked the hackers for "making us aware" of previously unknown security vulnerabilities.

The email was worded in a way that would allow HBO to stall for time while it assessed the situation, Variety reported, citing a source close to HBO's investigation.

The same hackers have subsequently released two dumps of HBO material and demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom. "They're being extorted. If it was a bug bounty, it'd be on the up and up".

"You have the advantage of having surprised us", the message reportedly reads.

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The first HBO hack became publicly known on July 31. "That's a very, very small amount in these kinds of negotiations".

Variety has obtained a copy of another message released Thursday by the anonymous hacker to select journalists in which HBO is apparently responding to the initial video letter that was sent informing the -owned company of the massive data breach.

About a fortnight back, hackers broke into HBO's servers and stole a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data including five draft scripts of the seventh season of Game of Thrones as well as the personal numbers and addresses, home and email both, of the cast members of season 7 including Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and Kit Harington.

There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims against the network and job offer letters to top executives. An automated response was returned with an image of the HBO "bounty" offer, Reuters said.

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