Movies & TV / News

HBO Offered Hacker $250,000 Bounty Payment in Response to Data Breach

August 12, 2017 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Game of Thrones - HBO

Variety reports that an anonymous hacker sent a copy of a message sent by HBO that apparently offered a “bounty payment” of $250,000 to the hacker involved in a recent massive data breach for the network. As previously reported, HBO and its hit series, Game of Thrones, were recently subject to massive data breaches. One breach saw a recent episode of the show get leaked online early before its scheduled airdate. However, the episode leak was reportedly not related to the leak which saw HBO’s servers get hacked.

The Time Warner-owned premium channel sent a message to the hacker in response to an initial video letter where the hacker informed HBO of the company’s massive data breach.

The message sent by HBO is dated July 27, and it features an offer from the network to make a payment of $250,000 as part of a program for “white hat IT professionals” getting rewarded rewarded for “bringing these types of things to our attention.” The report says a source close to the investigation confirmed the e-mail is real. However, the reason the e-mail was worded in a tone that was non-confrontational is because HBO was trying to “stall for time” while the situation was being evaluated. Additionally, HBO tried to pen the possibility of a $250,000 payment to try and appease the hacker and avert a leak that could also impact other companies, including Sony and Netflix.

Additionally, the cable network’s message to the hacker asked for an extension of the ransom-payment deadline for one week while the $250,000 payment is made and the necessary amount of bitcoins could be gathered. The message 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.”

Per the report, the hacker requested a ransom payment in a video letter of “six months salary,” and the hacker claims to have an annual income of $12 million to $15 million per year. HBO declined to comment on the story.

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Game of Thrones, HBO, Jeffrey Harris