Leaked Email Reveals HBO in Negotiations With Hackers

Eloi Lecerf
Agosto 12, 2017

It showed negotiations over a ransom, with a senior vice president of HBO offering a bounty payment of $250,000 in bitcoin as part of a company program to reward IT professionals for discovering security weaknesses. The email sent by a top HBO executive was leaked by hackers to the media earlier today.

The payment was suggested in an email which was leaked by the hackers as "a show of good faith", according to Variety.

The email was worded in a way that would allow HBO to stall for time while it assessed the situation, Variety reported, citing an HBO source. Variety adds that the email is dated July 27, which was a few days before the hackers began to put what they have online.

In a ransom video set to the music from Game of Thrones they said: "HBO spends 12 million for market research and 5 million for [Game of Thrones] advertisements".

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The message reads, "You have the advantage of having surprised us". While the network is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to put an end to this, it is surprising to see that it even made an offer to the hackers.

The unnamed HBO exec told hackers that the company has "been working hard since [July 23] to review all of the material that you have made available to us". Those hackers appear to have been engaged in email correspondence with HBO.

So far, however, the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. While $250,000 in bitcoin is a lot of money to most people, it isn't almost the amount the hacker originally demanded. The stalling tactic apparently didn't work, though.

They felt the offer of $250,000 was generous and enough to keep the hacker off their back and to stop any further leaks from happening. "It's just about money".

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