HBO says email system not breached 'as a whole'

The Associated Press

KitGuru Says: So far, numerous HBO leaks have centred around Game of Thrones but with the season about to end in a couple of weeks, it seems like the hacker's bargaining chips are getting less valuable.

The attack came at a sensitive time for HBO: Parent Time Warner is seeking regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T Inc in an US$85.4 billion deal announced in October.

Now, according to Variety, a leaked email from a HBO executive appears to show that it is willing to give in to the group's demand with a "bounty payment" of $250,000 in the cryptocurrency often used by cybercriminals for its anonymity.

An anonymous online group recently hacked HBO and has just dropped a document full of vital information from across many of their shows including "Ballers" and "Room 104" and the entire script for the Game of Thrones episode not due to air until August 13th. The hackers have yet to receive their money, which is why they leaked a purported email exchange with an HBO exec to Hollywood Reporter.

"The hackers claim it took six months to break into HBO's network, and that they spend $500,000 a year purchasing so called zero-day exploits that let them break into networks through holes not yet known to Microsoft and other software companies". In the video, "Mr. Smith" said that HBO must pay "our 6 month salary in bitcoin", which the hacker or hackers implied is at least $6 million. As we said, the forensic review is ongoing.

HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of "proprietary information", said it's continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts.

The hackers reportedly said that they have sent an ultimatum to HBO President and CEO Richard Plepler and demanded "six month salary in bitcoin" - which is almost $6 million - as ransom for the stolen data.

Game of Thrones continues on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 2am and 9pm.

Should HBO submit to the Game of Thrones hackers' demands?

Several news outlets are reporting a leaked email from HBO that discusses ransom terms for information that was hacked from their servers. While the amount of data is almost seven times that of the 2014 Sony hack, the impact has so far been much less catastrophic.

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