HBO reportedly offered $250,000 to hackers
In a bid to contain further leaks from a group of hackers, HBO reportedly offered to pay $250,000 to those who stole nearly 1.5TB data, including scripts of ‘Game of Thrones’ (GoT) and other employee information, from the TV network. A purported leaked email, sent to various media publications by the hackers, appeared to come from an HBO executive, offering the ‘bug bounty’ of $250,000 for showing up weaknesses in the firm’s system, Forbes reported late on Friday.
“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. 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,” the email read.
The email, dated July 27, containing the ‘bug bounty’ offer was leaked by the hacker who goes by the name ‘Little Finger’ in a message promising a “second wave”. According to the report, the HBO executive wrote that the company had not been able to acquire the amount of Bitcoin, which is nearly $6 million, the hackers had demanded. However, HBO was yet to confirm the veracity of the email.
“This episode of the HBO hack is turning out to be a ‘Game of Thorns’ for HBO. As far back as July 27, HBO got into a negotiation with the hackers, it appears,” said Ankush Johar, Director, BugsBounty.com, in a statement. “There is a possibility that HBO’s pre-emptive bug bounty programme may have yielded a better security posture for them, avoiding this situation altogether,” he added.
Earlier this week, hackers leaked the script of Episode 5 of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 that was set to be aired on August 13, along with a note demanding ransom from the US-based television network. The hacked material also contains “countless” HBO internal documents, including a month’s worth of a top executive’s emails, financial balance sheets, employment agreements and marketing-strategy PDFs.